Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, has said that President Goodluck Jonathan has not shown enough commitment to steel development in the country.
According to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Michael Jegede, the Senator made the observation, while condemning the zero allocation for capital projects in AjaokutaSteel Company in the 2014 budget proposal, during the budget defence of the Ministry of Mines and Steel, conducted by the Senate Committee on Power and Steel.
Abatemi-Usman, a member of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, representing Kogi Central Senatorial District, where the Ajaokuta Steel firm is located, noted that steel development is the bedrock of any industrial revolution, wondering how the federal government wants to achieve the vision 20:2020 without the full operation of the largest steel complex in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
Questioning the Minister of Mines and Steel, Architect Musa Mohammed Sada at the budget defence, Senator Abatemi-Usman said: “We spent billions for staff salaries every year, yet we are where we were as far as the revitalization of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and National Iron Ore Mining Ore Company are concerned.
“Where is the place of Ajaokuta steel in our bid for industrial revolution? Do we seem to understand the importance of steel and the significant role it can play in enhancing our economy? If you ask me, I will say Mr. President is just paying lip-service to the issue of Ajaokuta steel and steel development in general. When he (Jonathan) came to Lokoja, Kogi State during the electioneering period in 2011, the thrust of his campaign promises for which our people voted for him was his pledge to revive the Ajaokuta steel complex. Over three years down the line, we’ve not seen much from him in that regard.”
Responding, the Mines and Steel Minister, insisted that despite the fact that fund was yet to be allocated for the completion of Ajaokuta steel, the Federal Government remains fully committed to the revival of the steel outfit. He explained that government was working hard to clear some of the issues serving as impediment on the way of the steel project.