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Federal Govt Leverages Metallurgical Industry To Develop SMEs

The Federal Government said it is leveraging the potential of the metallurgical industry to develop Small Medium Enterprises in the metal sector for economic diversification, job creation and national prosperity.  The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development during one of its public fora in Lagos said that if the products of the industry is developed and accessed, they will be able to feed the local consumers with some of the building materials imported from foreign manufacturers and save more income for the growth of the economy.

While declaring the 2nd Nigeria Metallurgical Industry Stakeholders’ Forum (MISF) Engagement with the South-West zone open, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines & Steel Development, Abdulkadir Mu’ azu represented by a director of reforms in the Ministry, Mr. Zacchus Atte Zacchus Ante, said the forum was timely considering the Federal Government’s current quest for diversifying the mono-product economy by de-emphasizing dependence on Oil and Gas while focusing more on the non-oil sectors especially the Agricultural, Minerals and Metals sector.

Mu’azu noted that the theme of the Forum “Developing SMEs in the Metal Sector for Economic Diversification, Job Creation and National Prosperity” is therefore in tandem with the Change Agenda, vision and mission of the present administration.

According to him, “It must also be mentioned that Nigeria is well endowed with various mineral raw materials that cut across the length and breadth of the nation.  Consequent upon this, I would like to call on all stakeholders present at this Forum to bring their experiences to bear as well as our natural comparative advantage towards rebuilding the ailing metallurgical industry to enable us utilize locally the various mineral raw materials that Nigeria is endowed with for economic diversification.

“It is in realization of the foregoing that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development have developed a Roadmap and also articulated some sustainableprograms, strategies and activities for the development of the metallurgical sector with a view to taking it to the next level.

Meanwhile in his presentation, Mr. Victor O. Ihebinike, Director, Metallurgical Inspectorate and Raw Materials Development (MI&RMD) Department said the industry was established to ensure a continuous exploration work and sustainable development of locally available mineral raw materials for the Metallurgical and Allied Industries.

He noted that one of the cardinal objectives of MI&RMD is also to supervise metallurgical mineral raw material sourcing agencies, namely: National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA), Kaduna; National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), Jos; and National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe. “It is also given the mandate to carry out nation-wide inspectorate activities on all metallurgical and allied industries.

The drafting of the “Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill” was informed by the strong desire to develop a vibrant and robust Metallurgical Industrial sub-sector with government relinquishing its erstwhile role as Owner-Operator to the private sector and reposition itself as Administrator-Regulator in consonance with the Government policy on privatization and reforms, “he said.

Source: The Sun

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