– The House of Representatives has passed a bill for the withdrawal of $1 billion (N360bn) from the excess crude account for the completion of the Ajaokuta steel mill project – The steel plant was also removed from the list of public assets which the federal government has powers to privatise or concession – The sponsor of the bill stated that the move became necessary to prevent overzealous persons from selling the plant either by omission or commission A bill to provide for the withdrawal of $1 billion (N360bn) from the excess crude account for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Mill project has been passed by the House of Representatives, Leadership reports.
At its plenary on Wednesday, March 28, the House also halted the federal government’s plan to sell or concession the company. Ooduarere.com gathers that the bill would be sent to the Senate and then forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari.
If signed by the president, it would empower the executive branch of government to withdraw $1 billion (360bn) from the excess crude account to complete the steel project. Also, the steel plant was removed from the list of public assets which the federal government has powers to privatise or concession, by the amendment of the Privatisation Act.
The House said it passed the “bill for an act to amend the Public Enterprises (privatisation and commercialisation) Act, Cap. p. 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to review the list of enterprises to be privatised, and for related matters.” Explaining the rationale for the move, Hon.
Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, who sponsored the bill, stated that it became necessary to “protect the steel company, a highly valued national asset. It is necessary to delete it because if we let it remain in the market, overzealous persons will sell it either by omission or commission.”
Meanwhile, it was previously reported that the House of Representatives said it no longer recognises or has any business to do with Kayode Fayemi, the mines and steel development minister, following a vote of confidence passed on him by the lawmakers. The House mandated its ad-hoc committee on the Ajaokuta Steel Complex to consider the possibility of a bill for an act to provide for the completion of the company and stop its concessioning before the completion. The federal lawmakers took these decisions on Thursday, March 15, following a resolution to probe the engagement of PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PwC) by the minister to audit the steel complex towards concessioning it.