The Minister for Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, has said that the Federal Government would need to clear all legal hurdles surrounding the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited before it would begin to function.
Fayemi stated this while defending the 2016 Budget proposal of the ministry before the Senate Committee on Power and Steel on Tuesday.
According to the minister, it would not be in the national interest to leave the multi-billion complex the way it is given President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to see it up and working in the shortest possible time.
He lamented the trillions of naira spent annually on steel importation into the country and assured that the resolution of the legal issues surrounding the National Steel Industry would be accorded top priority in the year.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Power and Steel, James Manager, said that the development of any nation is tied to a vibrant steel sector.
He also urged Mr. Fayemi to tell Nigerians more about Ajaokuta and use publicity to attract interest towards the company.
The senators stressed the need to raise the revenue profile of the agencies under the ministry, tackle the legal challenges around the steel industry, and explore the Public Private Partnership option in getting the sector to be up and running.
They also urged the ministry to commence any necessary legislative process that would aid its work before the year runs out.