A proposal to rejig the services of the long abandoned Ajaokuta Steel has been tabled before the Federal Government by MetProm Group, a Russian firm.
This was disclosed in a meeting between a delegation of Russian officials and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
The Russian officials were led by Ambassador of Russia to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshir. The Ministry was represented by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, and the Minister of State, Uche Ogah.
The Details: The company doesn’t just want to rehabilitate the steel mill, but also expressed a desire to maintain the steel mill when fully operational.
[READ MORE: Why Ajaokuta Cannot Make Steel]
Nairametrics understands that the offer has been forwarded to the Federal Government since September 10.
What you should know: MetProm Group is different from TyazhPromExport (TPE), another Russian firm 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.
Plot Twist: Nairametrics discovered that majority of the engineers of MetProm Group worked with TPE at Ajaokuta Steel Complex before the arrangement between the Russian company and the Federal Government broke down.
Forgetting the bitter past: Valery Shaposhnikov, Russian Deputy Head of Mission, Trade and Economic Affairs, urged both parties to forget the bitter past and key into this new offer that would bring the steel complex to full operations. He also noted that experience of the engineers, who are familiar with the project, would be very important in the actualisation of this deal.
“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,” Shaposhnikov said.
Meanwhile, MetProm Group, on its website, describes 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 the onus lies on Nigeria to either agree to accept or reject the offer.
“It will depend on the agreement. The Nigerian side will define the strategy and the order of work,” he said.