The organised private sector has criticised its exclusion by the Federal Government from the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team.

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The panel is to supervise the process of renovating and completing the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, inaugurated the committee in Abuja on Monday.

Reacting to the development, Mr Ishaya Idi, Chairman, Commerce Trade Group, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, noted that the organised private sector should be part of the committee.

Idi proposed the inclusion of representatives of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.

He stated, “My concern about the membership of the committee is the non-inclusion of the organised private sector.

“In this regard, I suggest the inclusion of NACCIMA and MAN in order to have an all-inclusive approach to the realisation of this life-giving economic development scheme of our dear nation.”

Mustapha is the chairman of the team while the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, is the alternate chairman.

The committee is to engage in all bilateral negotiations, on behalf of the Federal Government leading to the execution of the Government-to-Government Agreement with the Russian Federation and the Afreximbank for the completion and revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.

Idi commended the Federal Government for setting up the committee.

According to him, the completion of the steel complex will save Nigeria billions of dollars being spent on steel importation.

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He said, “This is laudable and I commend the government for the initiative.

“No doubt when the plant finally gets on stream it will rejuvenate the economy and save billions of dollars being expended on steel importation.”

He urged the committee to work hard to deliver the project as soon as possible.