Covid-19 augmentation: ‘ASCL’ll help reduce wastage’

The federal government has been advised to reduce wastages on the proposed augmentation of Covid- 19 Oxygen Centres in all 36 states of the federation and allow Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) to produce the product.

According to a statement by Wisdom Olisa of NGO Network, the advice was given by a procurement expert, Mohammed Bougei Attah, while reacting to the approval of N836m by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, to support the 36 states and the FCT Covid-19 Oxygen Plants.

Speaking to newsmen on the development, Attah, the project director of NGO Network and Secretary of the National Planning Committee (NPC) for the upcoming National Conference on Ajaokuta Steel Project and President Muhammadu Buhari industrialisation agenda, said “there’s no need for the federal government to establish oxygen plants in all the 36 states again since Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) has the capacity to meet the oxygen demand of the states.”

Furthermore, he said it “amounts to waste to invest in another project of this magnitude, having spent over N5.6 billion in June for the 36 states and the FCT on the Covid-19 phenomenon at the initial stage, when Ajaokuta can effectively produce the oxygen for states.”

He argued further that the initial take-off grant to each state from the above sum and “today’s approval of about N1 billion are far above what ASCL needs to provide the oxygen.”

With the known tradition of sustainability challenge, as it put to question the readiness of the federal government to deploy additional manpower by states and the federal government, Ajaokuta Steel Plant, he said, “is well-equipped with the machinery and manpower to produce this oxygen at very low cost to the government.

“A visit to the Steel Plant in June this year revealed that with about N631.5m as completion estimate of the Ajaokuta Oxygen Plant, over ₦ 20 billion can be generated as revenue to the government every year.”

He advised the government to reduce wastages on building new plants, but rather on reviving the moribund industries across the country that can fill the gaps of revenue in many sectors of the country.