The Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, has expressed concern that the Ajaokuta Steel Company had been “left in deep slumber” for several years without resuscitation.
The committee’s chairman, Umar Tanko Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa), told newsmen that Ajaokuta would remain moribund without special funding to the solid mineral sector.
The lawmaker spoke at the National Assembly, Abuja, after submitting the report of his panel on the 2022 budget to the Appropriations Committee.
He said lack of fund and certain bureaucratic bottlenecks had stalled the revamping of the project, which is considered a major driver of the country’s industrialisation.
He said for the past two years when the initiative was put forward to reactivate Ajaokuta steel company, there has not been any meaningful budgetary allocation to the firm.
He, therefore, called for a special fund for the sector and urged the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to pursue the Ajaokuta project with all the energy and focus it deserves.
Al-Makura said, “We found that the much desired growth in this sector may not be easily achievable without very special allocation to this ministry.
“The president considers solid minerals among the sectors that will drive the process of diversification. But given the paltry allocation to the ministry, such desires expectation may not be easily met.
“I appeal to the committee to consider ways and means of finding a special funding to this ministry otherwise those things the ministry is expected to achieve might not be realisable especially when we look at the concern and the passion this country has for one of the sectors within the ministry that is Ajaokuta Steel Company.
“For the past two years when the initiative was put forward to reactivate the company, there has not been any meaningful allocation to the company. With that, the much expected takeoff or reactivation of the company might not be made except where there is special fund.
“Not only that, certain bureaucratic red tapism within and around agencies, departments and ministries have stalled this most desired project. So I’m using this opportunity to ask the ministry to wake up and pursue this project with all the energy and focus it deserves.
“It is only then that we will be able to have confidence that the so much expected industrialisation of this country through the Ajaokuta Steel Company is achieved.”