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The Beginning

Author: smith on 22-09-2013, 22:00, views: 2 822

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At the foundation stone laying ceremony on November 20, 1990: from left to right Mr, Roy Lee, Obong O.D. Etukafia, Dr. H. Beister, TataAskira, Mr. R. Reynolds, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji (Chairman, ALSCON Board), Dr. H. Singer, Prof. I. C, I. Okafor, Dr. K. von Menges, High Chief Bola AdedipeAt the foundation stone laying ceremony on November 20, 1990: from left to right Mr, Roy Lee, Obong O.D. Etukafia, Dr. H. Beister, TataAskira, Mr. R. Reynolds, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji (Chairman, ALSCON Board), Dr. H. Singer, Prof. I. C, I. Okafor, Dr. K. von Menges, High Chief Bola AdedipeIn pursuit of the plan to set-up an aluminium plant, the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, initiated talks with various interested bodies. Messrs. W. S. Atkins, a British firm, was commissioned to carry out a feasibility study on the project. With the change in government in 1983, discussions on the project were kept in abeyance until 1986 when the project was resuscitated by the Administration of General Ibrahim Babangida.

 

Thereafter, Ferrostaal AG of Germany, in conjunction with Reynolds International of the United States of America, submitted a joint proposal to the Federal Government for the establishment of an integrated 180,000-tonne per annum smelter plant. In response, the Government set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Industries to process the proposal.

 

A consortium of consultants comprising M+F Engineering Consultants - a Zurich-based aluminium consulting firm -as well as FINCO Engineers and Phoenix Investment Services, both of Nigeria, were engaged to assit the Inter-Ministerial Committee. The Government also appointed a four-man Presidential Task-Force to finalize the articulation of the project and submit recommendations to the Government. The Task-Force comprised Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji (Chairman), Mallam Ibrahim Aliu, who was then Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industries, Aret Adams, then the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and C. C. Okoye, then Director in the Ministry of Budget and Planning. Mr. Okoye, currently ALSCON's Deputy General Manager (Planning and Administration), also coordinated the preparation of this book.

 

After several meetings held in Lagos between the Task-Force, the Inter-Ministerial Committee, the Consultants, and the representatives of the foreign technical partners, discussions were continued in Washington D.C. in early 1989, where the World Bank made its own inputs for firming up the articulation of the project.

 

The ALSCON Board of Directors as of June 1994:

 

Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu; ALSCON Chairman Dr. Klaus von Menges  High Chief Bola AdedipeDr. H. Beister 
 Prof. I. C. I. Okafor  Tata Askira  

Roy Lee

 Obong O. D. Etukafia

 

The articulation of the project, as well as the negotiations of the various contracts took time because of its magnitude and complexity. As an 'essentially government project', resolution of issues (on the project) generally followed the characteristically slow bureaucratic process.

 

As Arnulf Lokenhoff, one of the leading members of Ferrostaal team recently remarked:

'The government decision-making process in Nigeria, although time-consuming, eventually works on many occasions; but one has to understand the system properly and be prepared to follow it up diligently from bottom to top'.

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Category: The Ikot Abasi Smelter

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