By Musa Adamu
The federal government has given official recognition to Messrs UC Rusal, a Russian Company, as the core investor of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom state.
This followed the signing of the Renewed Share Purchase Agreement (RSPA) between the government and the Russian company in Abuja.
The agreement was signed during a brief ceremony at the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Abuja, and was witnessed by the Minister, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Minister of State, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari; Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), Alex Okoh; Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Nickolai Udovichenko; CEO/Member of the Board of Directors UC Rusal, Vladislav Soloviev; Managing Director ALSCON, Dmitry Zavyaiov; and Head of Legal, UC Rusal, Piter Maxsimov.
Director General, BPE, Alex Okoh, signed for the federal government, while CEO/Member of the Board of Directors UC Rusal, Vladislav Soloviev, signed on behalf of the company.
This development has effectively ended the protracted litigation that has made the aluminium smelting company unable to operate for almost a decade.
The federal government, however, still retains 20 per cent equity in the company.
According to a statement issued by SA, Media, to the minister, Olayinka Oyebode, government took the decision to intervene and end the protracted dispute at the meeting of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) held in August, 2017 under the chairmanship of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
It said the Council approved an out of Court settlement to resolve the lingering dispute between the FGN, BFIG and UC RUSAL through mediation with the active collaboration of Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Speaking at the signing event, Dr Fayemi stated that President Mohammadu Buhari was keen on seeing that the agreement was reached and resolved as soon as possible so that the company can get back on its feet and Nigeria and Russia can strengthen the historical partnership btw the two countries.
The DG of BPE, Okoh, in his remarks commended the efforts of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Fayemi, and his commitment in ensuring the success of the negotiation.
He said he was optimistic that the remaining issues would be resolved both on the legal side as well the technical and production issues, adding that government still retained 20 per cent equity in the firm.
Ambassador Nickolai Udovichenko who led Russian Government delegation to the event, thanked the Nigerian government for resolving the impasse, while also lauding the efforts of the Minister.
He described the development as a new beginning for the two countries.