Reps stop Ajaokuta Steel concession, propose $1bn to complete complex

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, passed into law two bills halting the concession of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and proposing the expenditure of $1billion by the federal government to complete the steel complex from the excess crude account.

The bills, each sponsored by 301 lawmakers, were first introduced for first reading on Wednesday last week and scaled through third reading yesterday.

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.”

Before now, the two bills passed through second reading on Thursday last week and were subsequently referred to a special committee whose report was considered by the committee of the whole.

Considering the committee’s report during plenary on Wednesday, the lawmakers resolved to use $1billion from the federal government’s share of the excess crude revenue for the company’s completion.

They also said that the money shall be applied by the minister only for purposes of the steel complex completion, and as approved by the National Assembly.

The Daily Times reports that there had been a lingering controversy surrounding the Ajaokuta Steel Complex between the House of Representatives and the executive

The lawmakers had earlier asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi to stop the process of the concession of the steel complex.

The bill amending the Privatization Act seeks to remove the steel plant from the list of public assets which the federal government had powers to privatise or concession.

The lawmakers also want to strip the National Council on Privatisation and Commercialization 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.

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