-Why subsidy can’t continue —Kachikwu
The Federal Government has set in motion strategies to resolve the court action by Global Infrastructure on Ajaokuta Steel Complex to get it operational in the next 24 months. Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this at the Ministerial Town Hall meeting in Kaduna, revealed that Ukranians, Russians and Chinese investors have shown interests in the complex. Ajaokuta-Steel-Company.
This came as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said subsidy on petrol cannot continue, noting that a lot of fuel imported into the country was smuggled out to other countries.
Also, Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, reiterated the resolve of the Federal Government to redefine spending to get maximum impact.
According to Dr. Fayemi, the Ajaokuta Steel Complex is a priority of the administration which it stands ready to do whatever it takes to get on stream.
He said: “What we are doing, in order to revive Ajaokuta, is in two folds. One, Ajaokuta is caught in a legal conundrum and we will ignore the legal issues and say what we are more interested in is the reviving of Ajaokuta and making it work. It is a priority of government.
“So, the problems at the concession was Global Infrastructure, an Indian company under the Obasanjo administration that was revoked under the Yar’Adua’s administration, is one that we are resolving with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation. We are reasonably confident that in no time, maybe in the next six months, we would have been able to resolve that.
“Once we get rid of that, we will simultaneously negotiate with a range of players. There are many people who are approaching us that they can revive Akaokuta: the Russians, Ukrainians and the Chinese. ‘’We are looking for the best option that would allow us get Ajaokuta back to work within the next 24 months.
Why subsidy can’t continue — Kachikwu Also fielding questions, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Kachikwu, said subsidy on petrol would not continue because a lot of the fuel imported into the country was smuggled out to other countries.
He said: “You will realise that when we came in, we introduced a price modulation policy which enables us to swing the prices along the prices of crude oil. “Because we were owing about N600 billion on subsidy at a time, we struggled to pay that and that was why there is no subsidy in the 2016 budget.
“So, price modulation allows us to reflect international pricing. What I did before was to reduce prices. Now price of crude is trending up to $46 and hopefully, it may get up to $50. “Why scarcity persists is that we do not have sufficient crude to throw at it and if I do more of that, I will be going into His Excellency’s budget to collect federation crude just to provide you with refined products and he would not allow me do that. He is very tough on such things.