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, following the signing of the Renewed Share Purchase Agreement between government and the Russian company in Abuja, on Friday.
The Renewed Share Purchase Agreement was signed during a brief ceremony at the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Abuja, 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, Okoh, signed for the federal government, while CEO/Member of the Board of Directors UC Rusal, Soloviev signed on behalf of the company, thus ending 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.
Government took the decision to intervene and end the protracted dispute at the meeting of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) held in August, 2017 under the chairmanship of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, where the council approved an out of court settlement to resolve the lingering dispute between the federal government, BFIG and UC RUSAL through mediation with the active collaboration of Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Speaking at the event, Fayemi stated that President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on seeing that this agreement is 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 Fayemi, and his commitment in ensuring the success of the negotiation.
The BPE boss said he is 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.