The federal government has been advised to embark on thorough verification of data of investment of foreign investors in the country to further ascertain the investment status of foreigners for proper planning.
This is contained a statement issued on Monday by a Kaduna based Non-Governmental Organization, Arewa Progressive Alliance, (APA), National Coordinator, Tijani Ahmad Girei, stressing that a news making the round about a $1.5bn steel plant that is nearing completion in Kaduna State owned by African Industries Group under the African Natural Resources and Mines group is mischievous and misleading.
The report which was published in one of the leading national daily with the tittle: “Govt expecting one million MT steel from $1.5bn plant – Minister” is questionable and condemnable owing to the fact that previous publications clearly explained the true status of the investments of the firm in Kaduna State.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, at the weekend embarked on inspection tour of the company saying that the facility would produce one million metric tonnes of steel annually and would help put an end to the importation of the commodity into Nigeria.
It is pertinent to set the record straight in order to avoid misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the actual investments in the state for the sake of posterity and avoid marginalization of our youths especially in the areas of job opportunities as well as revenue allocation from the federal government in future.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission had in its January 4, 2020 report quoted the Managing Director of African Industries Group of Companies, Mr. Alok Gupta, to have said: “the company’s $600 million Integrated Steel Plant will be Nigeria’s biggest non-oil foreign direct investment, FDI.”
The statement added that, “Surprisingly, the misleading report put the investments at $ 1.5bn from its original status of $600m. It is important to state that the project has been conceived into three phases with attention on phases one and two at the moment with design capacity of less than one million metric tonnes.
“In fact, while the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak paralyzed economic activities coupled with other global challenges, the company could not meet up its planned for June 2020 as the completion date for the first phase but now looks for mid or third quarter of 2021 to complete it.
“If that is the case, how is $1.5bn related to the original figure of investment estimate of $600m published in January of the same year. Who is fooling who? Let the Federal government embark on due diligence and work with the Kaduna State government in getting the correct data of work-plans of African Industries Group in order not to be misled or misguided in its action plans and policies.”