ALSCON Owe Workers N2.3b Severance Allowance ….. As Coy value depreciates from $3.6b.to $100m

ALSCON Owe Workers N2.3b Severance Allowance
….. As Coy value depreciates from $3.6b.to $100m

Chris Suleiman, Abuja

Workers of the Alminium Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), a first class aluminium company are owed over N2.3b as severance allowance as the company value depreciated from $23,800 billion in value to $100m in 20 years just.

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The company which had a work force of about 1,800 staff, produces 40 Thousand tons of grade A aluminium in one year, generates $120 thousand in a year even at 25% production capacity
can only boast of less than 100 staff now who have not been paid for a decade as the production capacity of the company is zero.

Over 100 youths have taken over ALSCON estate since their parents have been laid off without severance allowance.

ALSCON was a pride of Ikot Abasi residents, the company availed them the priviledge of enjoying two years of uninterrupted power supply between 1996 to 1998.

ALSCON was established in 1996 on a 23,800 acres of land from the Ikot Abasi community of Akwa Ibom state, with the state of the art equipments, 6 turbine engines for power generation, 9 cranes, 29 fork lifts, well equiped hospital etc, that has been completely bastardized, machines carted away and some parts of the building raised down by vandals.

The pathetic situation of the company was revealed on Thursday at a public hearing organised by the House of Representative on the “Reasons Behind the Non-Implementation of the Supreme Court order which has stalled the Revitalization and Re-opening of ALSCON.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives in his opening speech told the public that the National Assenbly will ensure that the company gets back to business.

He said, “Let me assure Nigerians and all potential investors that National Assembly as representative of the people and their commonwealth will do everything through its committee on Privatization and Commercialization and other sister committees to ensure that the original purpose of establishments are achieved through proper oversight”.

The Chief executive of BFIG limited, Dr. Jaja said the his company won the bid when ALSCON was to be privatized at the cost of $410 million, and was expected to pay 10% of bid after 14 days and the remaining 90% within 90 days after signing the Share Purchase Agreement, SPA, and payable if all the assets were intact. He told the committee that he later received a Share Purchase Agreement(SPA) letter from Bureau of Public Procurement BPE, offer of $250 million as most of the equipments in ALSCON has been vandalised and carted away.

Jaja further said that there was a federal high court ruling from Justice Kafarati in favour of BFIG ordering that $250m be paid to BPE.

He also complained that BPE had earlier favoured U. C. Rosal, a Russian company that did not raise a financial bond which was a prerequisite for the bid but the company was unable to turn around the fortunes of the ALSCON and instead carted away all the assets of the company under the watch of BPE.

On their part, BPE said that there is a Supreme Court judgment ordering BFIG to pay $410 million for ALSCON insisting that the SPA of $250 million was sent to BFIG in error. BPE insists that $410 million is the sum to be paid by BFIG even as the company is in. a horror state.

In their submissions, Engr Abdullahi who represnted the Ministry of Solid Minerals told the committee that Alminium is the most precious metal component after steel adding that efforts should be made by government so source for boxite which is a major raw material in the production of alminium.

The Chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress, ALSCON chapter, Kelechi Otu said that government at this stage should not be interested on the value of ALSCON but to find a way to put the company back on track adding that BPE must ensure that the 2.3 billion owed staff is paid to ensure smooth operations for the acquiring company.

“In bringing ALSCON back to life, there should be security considerations. Our severance allowances must be paid. Gas has to be in place for the company to function. The cost of ALSCON should not be the major consideration but how to make the company a viable alternative to oil and engage the youths.”

The leader of Ikot Abasi consisting of three local governments, Obong Amaeke Ntuk said that the village youths constituted themselves into vigilante groups to protect the critical assets of ALSCON for eight years without getting any support from government. They also threatened to take over their land for agricultural purpose if ALSCON fails to take off.

The House Committee chairman on Privatization, Hon. Ahmed Yerima told BPE to engage BFIG since they have shown strong commitment in ALSCON since 2004, adding that they both groups should shift ground and clear all judicial hurdles so that the company can get into business now that alternative source of income is of utmost importance to the country.

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