By Tanko Mohammed
Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development says a 60- man team from Russia will soon arrive Nigeria to start Technical Audit of Ajaokuta steel.
Adegbite said in Abuja that Russian government had nominated TYAZHPROMEXPORT (TPE), a Russian company, the original builder of Ajaokuta steel to conduct technical audit of the steel company to ascertain the level of work to be completed.
“The original builder of Ajaokuta steel TPE are coming with the 60-man team to Nigeria to commence audit report of the company.
” I am in contact with them, we are making arrangement for their coming in line with COVID-19 protocol established in Nigeria.
“They will go through Nigerian protocol on COVID-19 when they arrive,” he said.
The accord to revive Ajaokuta steel company was reached during a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Vladimir Putin in Russia in 2019.
The foundation laying of Ajaokuta steel company was conducted in 1980 by late President Shehu Shagari and within four years, the company recorded 84 per cent completion.
The steel company that is located on 24,000 hectares of sprawling green field landmass is built on 800 hectares of land over three decades ago.
Ajaokuta steel reached 98 per cent completion as far back 1994 and has not produced a single iron till date.
On improving the sector, the minister said that the ministry had commenced the process of reviewing the mining law.
“The law that controls mining is 2007 but we are at the process of reviewing it.”
He said that some physical incentives for attracting miners to invest in Nigeria include import duty waiver for all mining equipment.
Others are tax holiday for foreign miners, three years with a possible extension to five years and low royalty from three to five per cent compare to some countries that charge 20 per cent royalty and among others.
“These are parts of incentive put in place to attract foreign mining investors; these same incentives are also applicable to local miners,’’ the minister said.