Staff of the Ajaokuta Steel Company, Kogi State, have refuted reports that their monthly wage bill costs the federal government N3.4billion.
Chairman of the Board of Assets Management Company (AMCON), Mr Kola Belgore, was quoted in news reports as saying that the federal government spends N3.4billion monthly on salaries of workers of the steel company, following which the House of Representatives set up a committee to investigate the claim.
But the steel workers, under the aegis of Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSSAN) and Steel and Engineering Workers Union (SEWUN), in a joint press conference in Abuja, yesterday, disputed the claim, explaining that the said N3.4billion is the annual wage bill of the entire company.
ISSSAN president, Comrade Otori Maliki, who spoke on behalf of the group, explained that “the paltry N3.4billion is what is paid to workers in 12 calendar months, about N288million monthly for the well over 6,000 workers, as appropriated by the National Assembly in the national budget”.
He described their services as sacrifice to their fatherland, aimed at protecting the over $5billion investment at the steel plant from vandals.
The ISSAN president advised that in a dwindling oil-driven economy, the National Assembly should be leading campaigns for the completion and commissioning of the Ajaokuta steel plant, noting that a functional steel company would be a boost to the non-oil sector and immeasurably bring economic fortune to the country.