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Sell Ajaokuta Steel company, MAN, Others Tell FG

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Ajaokuta Steel
  • Sell Ajaokuta Steel company, MAN, Others Tell FG

Manufacturers and experts have said privatisation of Ajaokuta Steel Company will yield better dividends than the facility being run by the government.

They spoke with our correspondent in separate interviews, maintaining that government-run business had never turned out to be a profitable venture but one that was prone to corruption and waste.

As such, they canvassed the sale of the national asset but urged the government to do such in a transparent manner.

A business and investment consultant, Dr Vincent Nwani, pointed out that the government was not supposed to run business.

He said, “Ajaokuta needs to be run as a business and not as a government agency or non-profit organisation. It needs to be transferred to the private sector for proper management.

“The steel mills in Japan and other places worldwide are not run by the government but by private companies and they are very successful.

“The pending court case on Ajaokuta should be resolved and the facility should be given to private investors in a transparent and competitive manner.”

Nwani emphasised that steel industry everywhere in the world was the bone of development.

“If our steel mill is well managed, it will service the local industry and save us huge foreign exchange spent on importation and there will be multiple benefits derived including job creation and economic development,” he said.

Another expert and a professor of economics at the University of Uyo, Leo Ukpong, agreed that a private entity would reactivate the steel company and run it successfully.

He said, “Government-run business has a history of corruption and lack of continuity in cases where another administration takes over and quickly abandons the agreement entered into by his predecessor.

“The demand for steel is very high both domestically and globally. This would serve as an incentive to any private investor who will see the prospect of profit and market in the investment.”

For the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mansur Ahmed, it is important that the steel company is converted to a profitable entity and one sure way of doing this will be to involve private investors.

He stressed that the investors must be the right kind of private investors who could turn the facility into a profit-making one.

He said even if it was done with the involvement of the government on a public private partnership basis, the private investors must be given a free hand to operate, adding that such investors were usually many.

Ahmed said it was imperative this be done soon because there was a huge demand for steel in Nigeria.

Earlier, the former President, Nigerian Metallurgical Society, Prof Benjamin Adewuyi, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the completion of the steel complex during his second tenure.

Adewuyi who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria said Buhari should ensure that the moribund steel company became operational in his second tenure to boost the economy.

He explained that the project when completed, arms, ammunition, and cars, among others, that were now being imported could be manufactured in the company.

He said, “Ajaokuta has the capacity to produce cars, arms for the military among others and can also provide massive employment for the youth.

“We are only deceiving ourselves that we are manufacturing cars locally. Without Ajaokuta steel functioning, we cannot manufacture our own cars.

“We have many brilliant youths among us that cannot carry out any innovation because we lack the materials they require, Mr President should revisit Ajaokuta Steel Company and kickstart the project.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

U.S Senate Passes $749 Billion Inflation Reduction Act

The United States Senate has voted in support of President Joe Biden’s $749 billion Inflation Reduction Act expected to rein in America’s over 40-year high inflation rate, support American families by reducing everyday energy costs and compel the richest corporations in America to pay their taxes.

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The United States Senate has voted in support of President Joe Biden’s $749 billion Inflation Reduction Act expected to rein in America’s over 40-year high inflation rate, support American families by reducing everyday energy costs and compel the richest corporations in America to pay their taxes.

Explaining the significance of the bill, the President said it will reduce the federal deficit by over $300 billion and cap seniors’ out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs at $2000 a year, no matter what their drug bills would otherwise be, seniors citizens will not pay more than $2000.

Also, 13 million Americans presently under the Affordable Care Act, will save $800 on their health insurance premium a year.

“This bill tackles inflation by lowering the deficit and lowering costs for regular families,” President Biden declared.

Americans earning below $400,000 a year will not pay any new taxes while the wealthiest corporations will now be paying 15% on income, estimated at $40 billion in 2020. The bill will ensure America invests $369 billion in clean energy and addresses the climate crisis.

“It also gives consumers a tax credit to buy any electric vehicle or fuel cell vehicle, new or used, and a tax credit for up to $7,500 if those vehicles were made in America.

“This investment in environmental justice is real. It also provides tax credits that will create thousands of good-paying jobs — manufacturing jobs on clean energy construction projects, solar projects, wind projects, clean hydrogen projects, carbon capture projects, and more — by giving tax credits for those who build these projects here in America,” President Biden stated.

Speaking on the milestone, President Joe Biden said “I ran for President promising to make government work for working families again, and that is what this bill does — period.”

President Biden would be expected to sign the Act into law once the House of Representatives passed it.

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Economy

NRC Suspends Train Service on Lagos-Kano, Ajaokuta Routes

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has suspended train services on the Lagos- Kano and Ajaokuta routes.

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

Following the recent terrorist attacks in various parts of the country, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has suspended train services on the Lagos- Kano and Ajaokuta routes.

Also, train services were reported to have been suspended at Ajaokuta station along the Warri-Itakpe route by the NRC after the attack on some passengers by gunmen on Monday.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Transportation and the NRC, the train services would be suspended until the security of those routes is assured.

The Managing Director for NRC, Fidet Okhiria, who confirmed the news about the suspension, noted that the corporation did not stop train services on the Warri-Itakpe route.

Okhiria said: “We have not stopped (services), rather what we said was that we are not going to be stopping at the Ajaokuta station.

“This is because on Monday, while passengers were leaving the station with their private cars and buses, they had people shooting at them. So we said we will not stop there again for passengers.

“The train is still running, but for now we will not be stopping at Ajaokuta because they have some concerns there.”

Investors King recalls that the NRC had, on 29th of March, suspended train service operations on the Abuja -Kaduna axis as a result of a terrorist attack that left about 8 dead, injured many and led to the kidnap of about 200 persons.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has hinted that as soon as all security measures are put in place, train services for the Abuja -Kaduna axis would resume.

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Economy

Hard Times For Nigerians As Price Of Kerosene Rises to N800 Per Litre

Nigerians are again faced with a new dilemma, as the price of kerosene skyrocketed to N800 per litre over the weekend.

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Kerosene

Just a few weeks after adjusting to the new prices of petrol, diesel and gas, Nigerians are again faced with a new dilemma, as the price of kerosene skyrocketed to N800 per litre over the weekend.

Investors King recalls that as of last week, kerosene, which is used majorly in the average Nigerian household, was sold at the rate of N700 per litre.

However, a new market survey carried out by Investors King revealed that as of August 2, kerosene was sold between N800 and N850 per litre in some urban parts of Lagos, and in some suburb filling stations, the commodity was sold as high as N1000 a litre.

Speaking on the increment,  the National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Associations of Nigeria, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi attributed the hike in the price of kerosene to the exchange rate.

While noting that Kerosene is a deregulated market, Osatuyi added that the petroleum product is subservient to change as a result of shifts in the market.

He said: “It’s a deregulated market. It is also a function of the dollar to naira rate and the crude price at the international market. Since cooking kerosene is deregulated, prices can go up, it can also come down”.

 Similarly, the Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Olufemi Adewole, in an interview, disclosed that the ever-increasing exchange rate is one of the reasons for the rise in the price of kerosene.

Cooking kerosene is deregulated so prices depend on foreign exchange. A dollar is now 700 Naira from 600 Naira just last month, so prices will surely increase”, he said.

Meanwhile, an energy expert, Bala Zakka, attributes the reason behind this continuous sharp price increase to Nigeria’s inability to produce and refine its own petroleum products for local consumption, despite the abundance of crude oil within its borders.

Taking to social media, many Nigerians have continued to complain about the hike in price, as well as the country’s harsh economic situation.

Critics find it more appalling that Ghana which has no oil within its borders, sells kerosene to its citizens at the price of 12.044 GHS, an equivalent of 585 Naira per litre.

 To this end, many Nigerians have taken to their social media pages to complain about these hard times.

Investors King gathered that apart from the increment in the price of kerosene, the price of fuel also increased, as a litre is now being sold for N179.

However, if this trend continues, there are indications that feeding might be a challenge for the less privileged.

Recall that in July, the National Bureau of Statics (NBS), in a report, disclosed that the average price of Kerosene rose from 679.54 in May 2022, from 589.82 which it was in April, equating to a 15.21 percent increase.

The report further stated that the average retail price per litre of Household Kerosene paid by consumers in June 2022, increased by 12.09%, while the state profile analysis of average price in May 2022 varied with Enugu ranking first, as the state with the highest paying price of 868.75 per litre for kerosene, while other states juggled between N558 and N700 per litre.

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