ADDRESS BY BOSS MUSTAPHA, SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION ON THE INAUGURATION OF THE AJAOKUTA PRESIDENTIAL PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION TEAM (APPIT)
ON MONDAY, 11TH MAY, 2020
I am delighted to address you all at this unique and historical event that is expected to culminate in pushing forward the economic diversification agenda of this government. As you are all aware, Mr. President’s quest to create opportunities for the development of our national local capacity, especially in the area of industrialization within a diversified economy remains a major cardinal point in his administration.
2. The Ajaokuta Steel plant have languished in economic unproductivity for about four decades and previous efforts at reviving it had proved abortive. This has resulted in avoidable massive foreign exchange losses at intolerable opportunity cost to the country. The pressing need to redress these avoidable challenges has necessitated this Presidential intervention at this time. This is further underscored by difficulties being witnessed with present challenges in the global oil industry.
3. Revamping the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, therefore clearly presents a unique opportunity to make us West Africa’s largest fully integrated steel producer and most importantly accelerate our industrialization especially in steel related industries.
4. Honourable Minister and distinguished Members of the Committee, this government places a lot of value on the diversification of the economy, hence, Mr. President’s participation at the Russia-Africa Summit last year in Sochi, to discuss the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin.
5. Following the bilateral discussions in Sochi, Russia, the Ajaokuta Steel Project is to be resuscitated on the basis of a Government-to-Government agreement with funding from the Afreximbank and the Russian Export Centre. However, one of the key issues discussed by the parties was the Technical Audit, Upgrade, Completion and Operation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
6. Today’s inauguration of the “Ajaokuta Presidential Project and Implementation Team” (APPIT) is therefore meant to kick start the process of re-directing the activities of the Steel Plant with the aim of bringing the Steel Project back to life for the growth and economic development of our dear nation.
7. I am happy to note that preliminary works have commenced to determine parameters for effective and coordinated take-off of rehabilitation works on the Steel plant. It is on this note that Mr. President graciously approved the composition of this Implementation Team that is being inaugurated today, with the under listed terms of reference (TOR):
i. Engage in all bilateral negotiations as shall be necessary on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria leading to the execution of the Government-to-Government Agreement with the Russian Federation and the Afreximbank;
ii. Provide all relevant technical and other inputs necessary to close the Government-to-Government negotiations;
iii. Ensure that the best extreme possible, all relevant raw materials are sourced locally, bearing in mind the local content provisions and the Presidential Executive Order 005;
iv. Scrutinize and assemble Nigerian Content Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), Special Purpose Vehicle Contractors which will embody the Co-Concessionaire representing Nigeria’s interest in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Concession;
v. Ensure the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel Plant (ASP) based on the original design; and
vi. Ensure timely commissioning of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant (ASP) within a reasonable period to be agreed upon by the parties to the agreement and recommend primary tenure of a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Concession.
8. The membership of the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team (APPIT) include:
i. Secretary to the Government of the Federation: Chairman
ii. Hon. Minister of Mines and Steel Development: Alt Chairman
iii. Permanent Secretary, Mines and Steel Development Member
iv. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance Member
v. Solicitor-General of the Federation/
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice Member
vi. Mr. Gabriel Aduda Member
vii. Sole Administrator, Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd Member
viii. Sole Administrator, National Iron Ore Mining Co. Member
ix. Engr. Vincent Dogo (Industry Expert) Member
x. Prof. Elegba S.B. (Industry Expert) Member
xi. Dr. Godwin Adeogba (Industry Expert) Member
xii. Director-General, ICRC Member
xiii. Director, Steel; MMSD Member.
9. The Committee is expected to prepare and submit a periodic work plan along with quarterly progress reports on assignment activities, end-of-assignment report and develop concession contract terms.
10. I am happy to note that the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development has prepared a detailed Scope of Work which takes cognizance of technical due diligence, costing of investment required, forecast and financial analysis amongst others. It would, therefore be necessary that you focus your minds on the following deliverables, as a minimum:
• periodic work plan and quarterly progress reports and an end-of-assignment report.
• Briefing Materials for participating in road infrastructure development and Roundtables and Road-Show events;
• Technical reports on key aspects of the project preparation work and concession contract terms.
• Stakeholder engagement
10. It is my utmost believe that the APPIT will carry out this assignment with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity. It is equally expected of members to conduct assigned duties in an open and transparent manner at all times.
11. I am confident that with the calibre of members of this team and their associated high degree of professionalism and integrity, Nigeria would witness a revamped steel industry that will propel further industrialisation.
12. Hon. Minister, distinguished guests, it is therefore my singular honour and privilege to formally inaugurate the ‘’Ajaokuta Presidential Project and Implementation Team’’ (APPIT) to the good of our dear country, Nigeria.
13. I thank you all for listening and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.