By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has said it was open to discussions around investment opportunities aimed at reviving the ailing Ajaokuta Steel Company, in Kogi State.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, had last year, hinted that the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) projects will gulp about $1.45 billion (about N522 billion).
Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, stated this at a media briefing on the 2021 virtual Nigeria Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair(NOGOF) holding May 25 to 26 May, with the theme ‘‘Leveraging Opportunities and Synergies for Post Pandemic Recovery of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.
Wabote said that over 80 per cent input for oil and gas projects was steel, saying the country continues to lose huge forex earnings due to the importation of steel as a result of a non functional steel sector in the country.
‘‘If the opportunity presents itself and the economics is right, why not. The current administrator of Ajaokuta steel was a colleague in Shell and l know him. For now, they are struggling with a lot of things but as soon there is clarity, we may consider the option.
We only get involved in things that are very clear to us because we want to invest wisely. Though investment is a risk but still at that, we must be sure that we can get it 70 per cent right. Certainly, it is an area to be looked at.’’
On NOGOF 2021, Wabote said hosting the event is aligned to the key thrusts of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 which has charged the NCDMB to build and support the development of local capacities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, to foster institutional collaboration, maximizing participation of Nigerians in oil and gas activities, linking oil and gas sector to other sectors of the economy, maximizing utilization of Nigerian resources, among others.
According to him, the fair’s agenda includes technical and opportunity sessions from various stakeholders, a virtual tour that will enable networking opportunities to delegates, NOGOF award ceremony in recognition of distinguished industry players by NCDMB and virtual exhibition opportunities for registered organisations to present their activities and products to delegates.
The NCDMB boss disclosed further that one of the key objectives of NOGOF is to bring together key stakeholders including investors, operators, government, and major players across the sectors of the oil and gas industry, corporate players, independents among others, to ensure quality discussions.
On the theme, he said it is important as it acknowledges the industry wide disruption occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and it encourages constructive discussions on the recovery and way forward. He maintained that NCDMB is conscious of the need to project industry opportunities available to stakeholders-especially investors.
To this end, he assured that all delegates will receive a copy of the compendium of Nigerian content opportunities in the oil and gas industry 2021, adding that he believes the compendium is able to guide the strategy of investors in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry.