‘Ajaokuta capable of producing steel for Nigeria’s rail network’
The Sole Administrator of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Isah Onobere, yesterday revealed that one of the 43 plants installed in the complex was capable of producing 600,000 tonnes of steel annually and that the quantity could cover 10,000 kilometres of rail network across the country.
Onobere, who disclosed this at a public hearing organised by the Joint Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives on Privatisation, explained that the company requires N80 billion to operate the plant at full capacity.
He further explained that the firm would present a business plan to the Federal Government to be included in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed with the Chinese government on the construction of two major rail tracks across the country.
He added that the light mill section of the plant, which would require N43 billion to become functional, could produce 400,000 tonnes of steel yearly at full capacity.
He also noted that with an investment of the N43 billion, the plant could generate an average yearly income of N80 billion.
On power generation, Onobere added that the thermal plant of the firm which has installed capacity of 110 megawatts of electricity requires N5 billion to operate fully and would generate N18.7 billion every year.
He stated that electricity that would be produced by the firm could power the entire 43 plants in the complex when fully operational and also supply power to three states, including Kogi.
He also debunked claims that equipment installed in the edifice were obsolete.
Chairman of Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, commended former President Shehu Shagari administration for establishing the complex, which, according to him, could aid rapid industrialisation of Nigeria.
He advised the Federal Government to involve Ajaokuta Steel firm in its negotiations with the Chinese government, which was expected to construct 8,000 kilometres of rail network in the country.