The Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) said it did not participate in the processes leading to recent modified concession of Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe.
Acting Director-General of the bureau, Dr Vincent Akpotaire, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at an investigative session on the concession by the House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Steel.
The committee is investigating the signed modified concession agreement between NIOMCO and Global Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL).
Akpotaire was represented at the hearing by a Deputy Director in the bureau, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi.
He told the committee that the concession of NIOMCO was done solely by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development without the involvement of BPE.
He said that BPE was supervised by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), and that the agency took directives and instruction from the council.
Addressing the committee, Executive Secretary-General, African Iron and Steel Association, Dr Sanusi Muhammed, alleged that stakeholders in the sector were not involved in the modified agreement with GSHL.
Muhammed insisted that the concession was illegal.
According to him, the privatisation of NIOMCO is null and void since BPE, the technical partner of NCP in charge of privatisation, did not participate.
“The minister said it is a modified agreement but nobody is allowed to see it. No stakeholder was invited. So, we are interested in knowing what the agreement looks like,” he said.
In his submission, Prof. David Esezobor, Co-chairman, Iron and Steel Development Committee, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), queried the handover of NIOMCO to GSHL, saying there were outstanding issues with the modified privatisation.
According to him, the outstanding issues need to be sorted out.
Esezobor disclosed that a meeting was held where stakeholders agreed that NIOMCO should not be subject of concession.
Earlier, Chairman of the sub-committee, Rep. Gabriel Kolawole, had disclosed that the committee was in possession of documents that clearly stated why previous administrations declined to enter into any agreement with GSHL again.
“Now NIOMCO is back into the hands of Global Holdings, which had failed us in the past, and it is NIOMCO that supplies Ajaokuta Steel raw materials,’’ he said.
The chairman announced the adjournment of the session to Aug.18, to enable the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who was absent at the sitting to find time and attend the hearing.
The minister is expected to shed light on the modified agreement he signed with GSHL and NIOMCO on behalf of the Federal Government.