OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has declared that the parliament will resist any move to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, saying doing so will amount to concessioning Nigeria’s future.
The Speaker disclosed this when he led members of the House Committee on Steel to the company in Kogi State. During the visit, Mr. Dogara said it was a shame to the government that the Steel Company is still not functional after so many years.
He also announced that the House will consult with stakeholders to work out ways to find the $500 million needed to complete the last phase of the project, while noting that unless the political will is lacking, getting the funds to complete the company should not be an issue.
Mr. Dogara added that the House will hold another of its sectoral debates, where lawmakers meet with relevant agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), whose Chairman will be expected to brief the House on how much it has recovered from corruption proceeds and advise on how much can be applied to complete the project.
He explained that his determination to ensure that the Steel Company is revived is borne out of the promise the Company holds for Nigeria’s teeming population, especially in the areas of power and gas development, an economic boost, creation of jobs and more.
The Speaker maintained that running and managing the company can be concessioned after completion since the government is not a good manager of companies.
“Imagine if this plant had been completed in 1986, where would Nigeria be at the moment? Any patriotic Nigerian that visits this place will shed tears regardless of the part the person is from and for a foreigner that visits here, when he hears people describe this place as a shithole, he will go with the impression that it may be true. We have no reason not to complete that plant.
“You cannot concession your future, it is never done. I’m yet to see a nation that even concessions its bedrock and still succeeded. If you see one, just tell me. And that’s why previous attempts to concession it were not possible.
“We keep repeating the same things and expecting to get different results. That’s the definition of stupidity and since we are not stupid, we will not repeat it. We can make Nigeria proud so that every black man in the world can beat his chest. Anyone who plans to outsource the completion of this plant will definitely run into problems with us.”
Earlier, when the parliamentary delegation visited the Government House, the Speaker explained, “We are here about a major promise to the country that is located here in Kogi State, which is the Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd.
“We all know the benefits of steel development. You cannot be an industrialised nation without developing the steel sector.
“Of course, I’ve seen the resolution that was passed and adopted by the Kogi State House of Assembly but I feel that this is just not a Kogi issue, this is a Nigerian issue in view of the major promise that this sector holds for Nigeria.
“I believe that as soon as we put this plant into operation, immediately there will be 10,000 jobs for engineers and technical staff. That’s even as the level of the first phase and talk about other non-engineering staff, thousands again and other splinter opportunities that will come, that’s a projected 2 million jobs. “