The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite has said a 60- man team from Russia will soon arrive Nigeria to start Technical Audit of Ajaokuta steel complex.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) 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,” the minister explained.
Plans 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 steel company located on 24,000 hectares of sprawling green field landmass and built on 800 hectares of land, recorded 84 percent completion. It then reached 98 percent completion in 1994, but has not produced a single iron till date, NAN reports.
Meanwhile, on improving the sector, the minister said that the ministry had commenced the process of reviewing the existing 2007 mining law.
He said that some physical incentives for attracting miners to invest in Nigeria include import duty waiver for all mining equipment, tax holiday for foreign miners (three years with a possible extension to five years), and low royalty from three to five percent (compared to some countries with 20 percent royalty), 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.