Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Honourable Minister for Mines and Steel Development

More trouble for Ajaokuta Iron and Steel project as payment of workers’ salaries stops January

*The World Bank responsible for payment of the firm’s staff salaries already informed the Nigerian Government that it is discontinuing the gesture from January next year

*N3billion required for engagement of experts from Russia to reactivate 21 plants in Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex not included in Budget 2021: Sen. Tanko Almakura, Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines and Steel Development

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

More trouble seems to have dogged the multi-million Dollar Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Project, which has been under construction for close to 40 years.

The World Bank responsible for payment of staff salaries has already informed the Nigerian authorities that it is pulling out of the gesture effective January 2021.

ConsumerConnect reports the frantic efforts at resuscitating the much troubled project over the decades may end up a mirage if N3billion is not provided for reactivation of the 21 plants next year.

Senator Tanko Almakura, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines and Steel Development, who stated this has also lamented that staffers of the Iron and Steel Complex working in the Mining Cadastral Office, will not be getting their monthly wages from January 2021.

One of the plants in the comatose multi-million Dollar Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Project

The legislator and former Nasarawa State Governor disclosed this to journalists at the weekend in Abuja, FCT, that the World Bank responsible for that had already informed the Nigerian Government, that it is discontinuing the gesture from January next year.

Almakura said the N3 billion required to use in facilitating the engagement of experts from Russia for reactivation of the 21 plants in the Iron and Steel Complex, is not included in the 2021 budget earmarked for the Ministry Mines, Steel and Solid Minerals.

According to the Senator, he had made a presentation to that effect to the Senate Committee on Appropriation during presentation of the 2021 budget estimates of the Ministry to the committee recently.

The lawmaker said: “Nigeria has spent a lot on the Ajaokuta project to allow just N3billion to make her decades old efforts a mirage.

“Resuscitation of Ajaokuta is key to Industrialisation and development of the country. The Mines, Steel and Solid Minerals Ministry appealed to us during budget defence, to effect Appropriation for the N3 billion.

“Since we cannot on our own as joint committees on Mines, Steel and Solid Minerals, increase the enveloped budget presented to us by the Ministry, we pushed the appeal to the Appropriation Committee for the required appropriation .

“The N3billion is very necessary to be provided in saving the Iron and Steel Project from total comatose.”

The completion of the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Project would serve as a required catalyst for diversification of the Nation’s economy, which is one of the key policies of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines and Steel Development.

As regards the firm’s staffers who may not be collecting their salaries from January 2021, Almakura revealed that they are contract staff working at the Mining Cadastral office of the Complex whose monthly salaries have been footed in the past years from interventions from the World Bank.

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