The Federal Government has given official recognition to Messrs UC Rusal, a Russian company, as the core investor in the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, following the signing of the renewed Share Purchase Agreement by the two parties in Abuja on Friday.
The renewed SPA was signed during a brief ceremony at the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Abuja, and was witnessed by the minister in charge of the ministry, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari; Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Alex Okoh; Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Nickolai Udovichenko; Chief Executive Officer, UC Rusal, Vladislav Soloviev; Managing Director, ALSCON, Dmitry Zavyaiov; and Head of Legal, UC Rusal, Piter Maxsimov.
According to a statement on Sunday by Fayemi’s media aide, Olayinka Oyebode, Okoh signed for the Federal Government, while 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, retains 20 per cent equity in the company.
The government took the decision to intervene and end the protracted dispute at the meeting of the National Council on Privatisation held in August 2017 under the chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, where the council approved an out of court settlement to resolve the lingering dispute through mediation, with the active collaboration of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Fayemi was quoted as stating that President Muhammadu Buhari was keen on seeing that the agreement was reached and resolved as soon as possible so that the company could get back on its feet and that Nigeria and Russia could strengthen the historical partnership between them.
Okoh commended the efforts of Fayemi and his commitment to ensuring the success of the negotiation.
The BPE boss 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 the government retained 20 per cent equity in the firm.
Udovichenko, who led Russian government delegation to the event, thanked the Federal Government for resolving the impasse, while also commending the efforts of the minister.
He described the development as a new beginning for the two countries.
ALSCON was incorporated in 1989 with the Federal Government, Ferrostaal of Germany and Reynolds Incorporated of America as shareholders on an equity holding of 70 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.