The Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mine, Steel Development and Metallurgy, has called for special funding towards reactivating the ailing Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Tanko Al-Makura, made the committee’s position known on Thursday while presenting the 2022 budget report of his committee to the Senate Appropriation Committee.
Al-Makura (APC-Nasarawa) stressed the importance of the solid minerals sector to the diversification of the economy saying that the company was key to Nigeria’s industrialisation.
“The Ajaokuta Steel Company is one of the very vibrant sectors that have been left in deep slumber.
“Also, inadequate funding is one of the major problems of the sector. Not only that certain bureaucratic, red tapism within and around agencies, departments and ministries has stalled this most desired project.
“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. I will like to request the chairman to look passionately into this request,” he said.
Al-Makura added: “We have talked many times about the need to reactivate this company and I know as a fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is very passionate to ensure that before he takes a bow, the company will become very effective and drive the process of proper industrialisation in the country.”
On the budget of the ministry, Al-Makura appealed to the appropriation committee to consider ways and means of finding a special funding for the ministry otherwise, those things the ministry was expected to achieve might not be realisable.
“We found that the much desired growth in this sector may not be easily achievable without very special allocation to the 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,” he said.
A member of the committee, Sen. Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi) stated that solid mineral was very key to Nigeria’s economic development.
“As a nation coping with large number of unemployed people, this sector (Ajaokuta) is very important. It is key; it will help the nation in terms of job creation and employment opportunities,” he said.
The Chairman of the appropriation committee Sen. Jibrin Barau said “we know a lot of money has been spent to bring about Ajaokuta and now it is in a state of decay, not being utilised.
“So it calls for the involvement of everybody to make sure we resuscitate this important complex,” he said.