National Assembly To Probe $496m Payment To Failed Indian Firm For Itakpe Iron Ore Revitalization

NASS To Probe $496m Payment For Itakpe Iron Ore Revitalization

7 months ago
1 min read

The National Assembly has agreed to probe into the failed concession agreement involving $496 million payment to an Indian firm, Global Infrastructure Holding Limited (GIHL).

This was agreed upon during the Minister of Steel Development’s budget defense at the National Assembly

The Joint Committee on Steel Development set its sights on delving deeper into the circumstances surrounding the hefty payment to GIHL, which failed to rejuvenate the Itakpe Iron Ore Company despite the substantial investment.

During the session, Minister Abubakar Audu revealed, “The firm was supposed to be producing iron ore and transferring it to Ajaokuta for steel development but it was busy exporting the commodity. Before the exit of the last administration, the Federal Government went through litigation, and a settlement was reached. The Federal Government paid $496 million to the Indian firm for breach of agreement.”

READ ALSO: 2024 Budget: Nigerian Govt Pledges N4.45bn Allocation To Ajaokuta Steel, Seeks N35 Billion Financing For Revival

However, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan expressed strong reservations about the situation, questioning the rationale behind annually paying N1.5 billion to the staff of a firm that had been put on concession.

She demanded transparency in revealing the court papers that penalized Nigeria and underscored the need to investigate the entire concession deal.

“The Indian firm could not perform, they denied Nigerians access to the iron ore company for three years. Instead of them being penalized for depriving Nigeria of its social and economic growth, we compensated them further by paying them $469 million,” Akpoti-Uduaghan observed.

Co-chairman of the committee, Dr. Zainab Gimba, aligned with Akpoti-Uduaghan’s sentiments, prompting the committee to resolve to hold a public hearing to thoroughly investigate the concession agreement at a later date.

The resolution signals a step toward unraveling the intricacies surrounding the failed deal, shedding light on decisions made behind closed doors that have implications for Nigeria’s economic trajectory and the responsible use of public funds.

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Emmanuel Ochayi is a journalist. He is a graduate of the University of Lagos, School of first choice and the nations pride. Emmanuel is keen on exploring writing angles in different areas, including Business, climate change, politics, Education, and others.


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