The Chairman, Basic Metal, Fabricated Iron and Steel Products (KAM Holdings), Dr. Kamoru Yusuf, has lamented that the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, which is supposed to be a treasure that generations to come should benefit from, has been in comatose for several years.
Yusuf, who spoke at the meeting of stakeholders in the Iron and Steel Sector in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, admonished the Federal Government not to handover the assets to foreign investor(s). Rather, he said, it should be allowed to be managed 1 00 percent by a competent indigenous investor, who has demonstrated capability with evidencee of success stories in existing steel plants and wire processing factories in the country. He said: “With this. government can and may own 40 per cent, while the investor will own 60 per cent. This will, no doubt, enhance easy, sustainable, and rewarding business fortunes for the nation. Every phase and process of the investment must be given cognisance attention and priority.
“As a matter of fact, Nigeria needs to pride herself as the giant of Africa by making judicious use of her highly talented, patriotic and committed indigenous investors with adequate recognition of the stakes of the government. If randomly sampled, the position of the general public is that Ajaokuta Steel Plant should work again in the hands of a local investor(s).” As a way forward, the KAM Holdings Chief Executive Officer urged the Federal Government to take counsel from existing players in the steel industry with wide experience in the field, adding that government should adopt the model used by the Republic of China “wherein they indigenised their iron and steel industries, where government held only marginal interest and the majority interests were committed into the hands of indigenous investors, which later transformed the country’s Steel industry within 25 years and led to massive development of the industrial sector in China.”
He said: “If indigenous steel investors are given the chance to resuscitate the Ajaokuta Steel Complez, we are assured that the capital and proceeds would remain here and will be re-invested into our economy. “Adopting the model of the developed nations of the world to periodically review and monitor the progress and challenges confronting the iron and steel sector and consequently mandate financial institutions to provide. adequate support to the industry is germane.”