Russian Firm in Fresh Bid to Rehabilitate Ajaokuta Steel

A Russian Company, MetProm Group, has made a fresh offer to the Federal Government to finally put the Ajaokuta Steel Complex into operation.

The company also indicated interest in maintaining the steel mill when fully operational.

Our correspondent learnt that the offer was formally tabled before the Federal Government on September 10.

The Ambassador of Russia to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshir, had on that date led a delegation of Russian officials to the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development

In attendance at the meeting were the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, and the Minister of State, Uche Ogah.

A Russian government official, Deputy Head of Mission, Trade and Economic Affairs, Valery Shaposhnikov, who was part of the delegation, confirmed MetProm Group’s offer in an interview with our correspondent.

MetProm Group is different from another Russian company, TyazhPromExport, which originally built the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

In 2016, a former minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, explained that the Federal Government decided to jettison TPE because the company did not want to complete the steel mill.

The minister’s statement was, however, countered by the Russian embassy, which insisted at the time that TPE was still interested in the project.

Our correspondent learnt that most of MetProm Group’s engineers worked with TPE at Ajaokuta Steel Complex before the arrangement between the Russian company and the Federal Government broke down.

Speaking with our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday, Shaposhnikov noted that the differences between the Federal Government and TPE were in the past, as the Russians had made a new offer to complete the steel complex.

He said, “I honestly do not see much use in muddling about with conjectures of the past. What matters now is an offer by a reliable Russian company, MetProm Group, to put the mill into operation.

“Many of MetProm experts had worked with TPE at Ajaokuta complex in the past. The company (MetProm Group) comes with a profound expertise in modern heavy industry and in the Ajaokuta case in particular.”

On its website, MetProm Group described itself as “recognised leaders in designing projects in metallurgy, supply of equipment, execution of construction and erection works and erection of equipment up to reaching the design capacity.

Shaposhnikov said it was left for the Nigerian government to decide and determine how to engage the MetProm Group.

He said, “It will depend on the agreement. The Nigerian side will define the strategy and the order of work.

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