Ajaokuta Steel; Jinxed and Junked?

By Dan Ugwu.

Ajaokuta Steel; Jinxed and Junked?
    Ajaokuta Steel Plant

    Forty years in the making and $6 billion down the drain, Ajaokuta has been an advertisement of Nigerian government’s limitless profligacy and debilitating incompetence. The project plan was conceived by Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s government in the First Republic.

    The plan was further developed by the military government headed by General Olusegun Obasanjo and handed over to President Shehu Shagari’s administration in 1979, which accelerated its construction.

    The project was simultaneously cajoled during President Obasanjo democratic rulership as Bluestar Consortium floated by Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola and others caved in. NNPC’s management and the Labour Unions were to pressurize President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s administration to scuttle the deal. The project further went to its dreamland under Goodluck Jonathan.

    This time, the Federal Government has again set up the Ajaokuta Project and Implementation Team for that purpose as chaired by Boss Mustapha and Uchechukwu Ogah. Granted, government never learns any lesson from so many disastrous investments in huge projects that it cannot manage. Otherwise, it would not be making yet another attempt to do the impossible and needlessly wasting more scarce public funds.

    So long as President Buhari is fronting the revival of Ajaokuta, what we would recommend is to look for serious and reputable global steel conglomerates to take over the plant at very generous financial terms. That would encourage them to make the needed investments to complete the plant and get it running.

    But still fixated on public ownership of such key industries and lacking the political will to pivot to a new paradigm of private sector-led industrialization process, the government might remain deluded that it can fix the plant and Ajaokuta will still never produce any steel. But in the meantime, we watch in hope.

    • Dan Ugwu is a Social Analyst. He writes from Owerri, Imo State


    Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dan Ugwu and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”


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