The Russian government will provide funds for the completion of the long abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Complex through the Russian Export Centre.
The Nigerian and Russian governments recently signed an agreement on the completion of the steel mill.
In line with the agreement, a Russian company, MetProm Group, would complete Ajaokuta Steel Complex and put it into operation.
Further details emerged on the agreement on Friday as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, revealed that the Russians would provide funding for the project.
He said the Russians “will come in with funding from the Russian Export Centre to complete Ajaokuta and make it functional.”
On its website, Russian Export Centre was described as a state-owned development institute established by the Russian government to support the development of the non-commodity exports industry/sector.
Established by law on June 29, 2015, the REC Group incorporates the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance and Eximbank of Russia to offer comprehensive integrated services to export-oriented companies.
Adegbite with the minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, inspected facilities at the Ajaokuta Steel Complex on Friday, where he provided further insights into the agreement between Nigeria and Russia while fielding questions from journalists.
The ministers were taken round the complex by the management team of the steel mill.
Our correspondent, who was present at the inspection, observed that engineers and technicians were busy at work in several workshops.
However, massive plants and other gigantic equipment in the complex were idle, and most of them had been overgrown with weeds.
Adegbite, who noted that most of the facilities were still functional, commended the workers for maintaining the facilities in the steel complex.
According to him, the steel complex was still existing because of the efforts of the workers.
He also pointed out that the workers had been receiving their salaries over the years, despite protracted problems that had prevented the company from producing steel.
He said, “This place would have become a ghost town and you wouldn’t find anything anymore, the plants are here and they run them.
“There are a lot of dry runs and of course they do a lot of maintenance work which we want to upgrade to manufacturing.”
At a reception for the ministers at the end of the inspection, the workers of the company, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Mines Workers, insisted that they were not idle, even though the steel mill had not been producing.(Punch)