There could be hope at the end of the tunnel over resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company as the House of Representatives on Wednesday adopted two bills seeking to prevent its concessioning and to ensure its completion.
The bills, each sponsored by 301 lawmakers, were introduced for first reading on Wednesday, March 21.
The bills are: An act to provide for the Ajaokuta Steel Company completion fund and a bill for an act to amend the Public Enterprise Privatisation and Commercialisation Act.
It was then passed for second reading on Thursday, March 22 and subsequently referred to the committee of whole.
Considering the committee’s report during plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers resolved to use one billion dollars from the Federal government’s share in the excess crude revenue for the completion of the company.
The lawmakers also said that the money should be applied by the minister only for purposes of the steel company’s completion, and as approved by the National Assembly.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that there had been a lingering controversy surrounding the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The lawmakers had earlier asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct Mr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, to stop the process of the concession.
The bill amending the privatisation Act sought to remove the steel plant from the list of public assets which the Federal Government had powers to privatise or concession.
The lawmakers also wanted to strip the National Council on Privatisation of its powers as the only body backed by law to decide on which firms should be on the schedule.
The bills were unanimously adopted by the members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.