Nigeria: Federal Government plans to privatize Ajaokuta steel plant

by David Fleschen

The Federal Government  of Nigeria to privatise the multi-million Naira Ajaokuta Steel Plant located in Kogi State despite opposition by a section of the nation’s economic intelligentsia, the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian reports.

According to the report, the Nigerian Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Abubakar Bawa Bwari explained that the decision to privatise the plant, believed to be more than 90 per cent completed, was due to the fact that government had proven to a bad manager, given past experience. Bwari, who gave the hint in Abuja yesterday while presenting the ministry’s three years scorecard, said 11 core investors had submitted bids for the purchase of the plant and the government was reviewing the applications with a view to picking a competent firm with vast technical and financial war chest because of the important place steel industry occupies in a country’s development.

“In Nigeria, we have proven beyond doubt that government is a bad manager and has no business to be in business. For instance, we have mismanaged many companies in the past like the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Nigerian Airways, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited, even the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that is wobbling. We will not take that risk. That is why we will hand over Ajaokuta Steel Plant to a private company that has enough funds and technical capacity to turn it around for the benefit of everyone. We would prefer to have a Nigerian company with this capacity to manage it because there is a lot of international steel politics because of the strategic roles steel plays in the advancement of countries,” the minister said according to the Guardian. He declined to name the investors bidding for the plant.

Source: The Guardian, photo: fotoalia

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