Ajaokuta Steel: Minister Meets with Russian Builders, TPE Consortium

Shaibu Abubakar Audu, Minister of Steel

The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, has met with the original builders of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL), Tyamzhpromexport (TPE), to revive the steel plant.

The Ministry’s Head of Press and Public Relations, Salamotu Jibaniya, in a statement made available to journalists on Friday, said the minister had met with the consortium comprising a team from Russia’s TPE/Rostec, Novostal and Nigeria’s Proforce in his office on Thursday in Abuja, where he urged them to come up with a blueprint for the revival of the steel plant within the shortest possible time.

Prince Audu stated that reviving the steel plant was in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda of ensuring the production of steel in the country and industrialising Nigeria through the steel sector before the end of his first term in office.

Prince Audu said following the meeting, he intends to visit Moscow on a formal invitation from TPE and other consortium partners to engage in further discussions to secure funding to the tune of about $2 billion, which is required for the revival of the entire steel plant.

He thanked the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria for facilitating the meeting with the TPE Consortium which, all works well, will be a monumental success in driving Nigeria’s economy through industrialisation.

TPE general director and leader of the Consortium, Sergei Egorov, commended the minister for the steps he had taken so far in putting together the consortium for the resuscitation of the steel plant, which had been moribund for years.

Egorov and his team of technical experts who had earlier gone on a tour of the steel complex a few days earlier, noted that the plant was still in a state of possible resuscitation, indicating their interest in putting together a business case for the government.

“We came with our technical experts and are quite impressed at the current state of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant. We would do a full technical audit of the plant and then take a final decision. We are happy to come on board on the resuscitation of the steel plant for the benefit of Nigerians,” Egorov said.

Deputy head of the Russian Embassy, Valery Shaposhnikov, also lauded the potential partnership, which he says would be carefully reviewed for the mutual benefit of both countries.

He expressed optimism in the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to revive Ajaokuta, adding that this is the first time since the Shehu Shagari Administration in 1979 that a Nigerian government is showing great political will in getting the steel plant operational again.

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