Reps introduces bills to halt concessioning of Ajaokuta steel 

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Thursday passed through second reading, two bills that seeks to prevent privatization or concessioning of Ajaokuta Steel Company.

The bills are for ‘an act to provide for the Ajaokuta Steel Company completion fund for the speedy completion of the project’ and for ‘an act to amend the Public Enterprise Privatization and Commercialization act.’

The two bills were each sponsored by Uzoma Abonta (PDP, Abia) and 300 others.

It would be recalled that recommendations from experts during the sectorial debate on the Steel Company favored state ownership of the complex.

Also during a motion calling for investigation of the Steel Mill last week the House resolved to amend the BPE Act removing Ajaokuta from the concession-able assets.

Similarly the House Last week, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, to stop the process of the concessioning.

The lawmakers also want to strip the National Council on Privatisation of its powers as the only body backed by law to decide on which firms should be on the schedule

Leading the debate on the motion, Abonta said that deleting the complex from the privatisation act is necessary to “protect the steel company, a highly valued national asset.

“It is necessary to delete it because if we let it to remain in the market, overzealous persons will sell it either by omission or commission,” Abonta said.

Also supporting the bill, Aminu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) said the bill will help provide for the speedy completion of the steel company.

“The two will go hand in hand,” adding: “As the representative of the people, we should say how the national assets of the Nigerian people should be handle.”

The House subsequently referred the two bills to the committee on whole for further action.

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