ABUJA- The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Mohammed Sada, said the Federal Government has commenced plans to sell Delta Steel Company to a private investor in the automobile industry.
Sada made this known in Abuja while defending the ministries 2015 budget before the Senate Committee on Power, Mines and Steel Development.
He said that though the ministry was not involved in the sale, it was in close contact with Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), the government agency handling the transaction.
He said that before now, the company was in the hands of a private investor but was retrieved by AMCON following interests indicated by more reputable companies.
“Now AMCON is in the process of selling it and I am aware there are quite a number of people that have written letters of intent that they are interested.
“What interests us in the ministry is that those interested are people that are involved in automobile development.
“We believe in the system now that someone who has interest in developing a value chain around the company is showing interest in buying it.
“We have no role to play but they are consulting us as experts in the industry and we have had several meetings with them on the process,’’ he said.
The minister said that AMCON had assured the ministry that in the next couple of weeks, the company would be sold.
He explained that all pending issues with the former buyer had been resolved.
According to him, AMCON gave the initial company the opportunity to pay back the loan but it was unable to do so after the grace period had long lapsed.
“There were no previous claims. Delta Steel was a privately-owned company; the company took loans from local banks and by Nigerian Law, AMCON was put in place to make sure that banks did not fail.
“So, AMCON bought over the loans of that company; they gave them a payment schedule which they failed. So, AMCON has no issue with anybody.
“Our concern is steel protection; Delta Steel Company still has the latest technology; whoever is buying the company can start operation immediately,” he said.
The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Power also appeared before the committee for the defence of their budgets.