Home Sci-Tech As ICEN Writes Buhari To Revive ALSCON – Independent Newspapers Nigeria

As ICEN Writes Buhari To Revive ALSCON – Independent Newspapers Nigeria

Credits to the Source Link Sylvester Enoghase

 The controversy surrounding the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), at Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, took a n a new turn on August 21, 2020,when the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria (ICEN) wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, over alleged refusal of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to obey the Supreme Court judgment on the firm. 

In the letter, ICEN called on President Buhari to sack the Director-General of BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, for refusing to obey the rule of law, saying that public officers must be held accountable for their actions and inaction, since their misdeeds affect all Nigerians and, accordingly activating a negative trend on the economy. 

The letter which was titled “Compassionate appeal for an action of Mr. President to end monumental fraud committed against the commonwealth of Nigerians by the BPE,” was copied to the Senate President, National Security Adviser, EFCC, Akwa Ibom State Governor and the Chief Judge, Federal High Court, Abuja, among others. 

Mr. Friday Nathaniel Udoh, ICEN’s Chief Coordinator, South- South, in the letter said BPE’s action was inimical and contrary to the President Buhari’s position to rid the country from the grip of poverty, the major driver of conflicts, insurgency and all sorts of criminality in the country. 

It would be recalled that ICEN, which has been at the forefront of the advocacy towards the revival of ALSCON, has again written to Buhari to revive ALSCON in asking him to resuscitate the moribund $3.1 billion investment worth Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) at Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State. 

It would be recalled that both the Federal Government and UC Rusal were in January 2018 judgment made at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, scolded for attempting to deceive the Court on BFI Group’s efforts to enforce the Nigerian Supreme Court’s judgment over ALSCON. 

In its latest call as it has wont to for the umpteenth time, BFI Group recalled that in a hearing on UC Rusal’s injunction to preclude the Bureau of Public Enterprises handover of ALSCON to BFI Group, that the Court chastised UC Rusal for initially requesting the injunction in 2015, and that the BPE’s support of the application, and for not seeking to have this extraordinary issue speedily heard on its merits. 

It added that “In a further act of humiliation, after being informed about the Federal Government’s effort to renew a Share Purchase Agreement with UC Rusal, the Court removed the injunction that precluded the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s ruling, in its totality. 

In its’ ruling, the Court directly noted “the behavior exhibited so far is tantamount to a calculated attempt to waste the time of the Court and to continue to frustrate a specific and clear Order of the Supreme Court to execute its judgment. We cannot allow that.” 

It would also be recalled that the firm has been shut down since 2013 owing to conspiracies and lawsuits that surrounds its ownership. 

Mr. Friday Nathaniel Udoh, the Economists body’s Chief Coordinator (South-South) who conveyed the letter to the President noted that “There are grave consequences allowing the ALSCON plant to rot in political intrigue. 

“In addition, major issues that need Federal Government’s consideration are the total risks over the lifetime of the asset which is 27.5% to reach the end of its life phase or decommissioning stage, adjudging from the sum of all yearly risks associated with physical, chemistry, economic growth, inflation and interest rate in the asset’s lifecycle, that ought to be renewed through specific maintenance programmes or dispose of as scraps. 

“And following the events along technology and changes in physical properties that potentially impact on the function of the plant and given to an endless litigation, degrading, aging and deterioration could potentially ruin the very essence of this $3.1 billion investment, plunging the plant value to zero sum in a matter that requires critical and timely attention given the strategic position of this plant to the economy.” 

While expecting the inclusion of the ALSCON matter in the agenda of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting anytime soon, the institute said its position was premised on the “ground of grave consequence of ALSCON’s continued closure to the economy.” 

Resuscitation of the firm, ICEN stated, would “reduce the burden on import bills and increase the value added potentials of available resources.” 

The economists went on: ALSCON will, sustainably, engage over 61,200 Nigerians and contribute N47.8 billion yearly to the economy.” 

In the bid to highlight the need for the resuscitation of the Aluminum smelting company, he alerted the President that the ‘Late-Life Phase’ value of the plant was at 25 to 30 years, and that the span is subjected to a Covenance, including, but not limited to efficiency maintenance programs, preventive predictive, condition-based, scheduled plan among others. 

He said that the saddest aspect of all is that 23 years is already gone, amidst BPE backed cannibalisation, vandalisation stealing, asset striping, and environmental factor. 

He added that considering the fact that the first plant production which only achieved a 25 per cent till May 1999, when the plant commenced it very first production in 1997, just the same, that the plant was placed on Preservative Mode which saw the it been tested and fired every Tuesday of the week and follows with the take-over of the plant by its erstwhile owners, DHL/UC Rusal in 2007 whose highest production capacity stood at 11 per cent, till the 2013 short-down. 

He warned that the matter is of grave consequences to the economists in the fold of ICEN, and other Nigerians who are deprived from the non-negotiated benefits they are supposed to have gained from investment made through the public cover and by the extant law of thermodynamic the asset is subject to deterioration. 

DAILY INDEPENDENT gathered that as ICEN has written to the President and in the same vein been persistently calling on the Federal Government to revived ALSCON by doing the needful. This is has various individuals have been showing concern on the stalemate that is no doubt stalling the resuscitation of the aluminum smelting company. 

It would be recalled that in February 2020, the Member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr Onofiok Luke, has called on the Federal Government to revive the abandoned Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State. 

Mr. Luke, who made the call in a motion during February 25, 2020 plenary pointed out that the aluminum producing plant, which serviced the Nigerian market with aluminum products and its allied industries provided jobs for thousands of Nigerians, is lying waste for several years. 

He lamented why the company in its hey days between 1997 and 1999 provided employment for over 1,820 permanent workers and over 4,000 casual workers should be allowed to rot away in utter neglect. 

It would also be recalled that ALSCON stopped operation on June 6, 1999 due to irreconcilable differences between some shareholders coupled with other associated problems of lack of working capital, insufficient gas supply and non-dredging of the Imo River. 

The Lawmaker said despite the privatisation of ALSCON in 2004, there has not been any significant improvement in the operations of the company, which is not producing any aluminum at the moment. 

According to him, “the former staff of ALSCON and their families are facing hardship due to Federal Government’s failure to pay the retrenched staff their terminal benefits of N 2.3billion, having only paid N4million to them” 

Mr. Luke urged the Federal Government to ensure the resumption of operations by the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria and to pay all the former staff of the company the remaining terminal benefits. 

He added that the House should invite the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprise to brief the Committee on Steel Development on the current state of ALSCON. 

The House also resolved that the Supreme Court judgment on the ownership of Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) be obeyed. 



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