Non-Performing Firms Risk Losing Oil Blocs

Minister of Mines and Steel Developmet, Musa Sada

The Federal Government yesterday threatened to revoke the licenses of coal blocks companies that fail to start operation.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Council of Privatization (NPC) meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the State House.

He insisted that owners of coal blocks must operate them or it would be taken over by government and given to those who are ready to start operation.

The Minister explained that coal blocks belonged to the government but were sold to various companies who ought to have been in full production of coal.

Stressing that the decision to revoke was in line with the provisions of the current Mineral Mining Act, he said that Government would not allow the process to be on speculative basis.

He said: “We are looking at the agrreement they signed with the Bureau of Public Enterprises, we are looking at the mIneral Mining Act, we are putting the two together, some of them we have already started interfacing with them and we are making progress in terms of making progress to start something tangible on that”

He also disclosed that the $5 billion Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State would soon become operational, adding that the present administration is doing everything possible to ensure that the facility comes back to life,

The intention of the government, he said, is to privatize a life company, and that everything would be done to make sure that an investor that is competent technically and financially runs Ajaokuta Steel Company.

Also speaking on the steel company, the Sole Administrator of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Isah Onobere disclosed that government has invited investors that are interested in operating the company.

According to him, the steel company is about 98 percent technically ready to start operation.

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo said that the nation would benefit from the operation of the coal blocks through adding to power supply

According to him, the coal operation was critical as it would complement the efforts of the Federal Government towards exploring various source of generating power.