Nigeria wants local content for development of mining sector

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

27 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA –
The Federal Government on Friday disclosed its plan to drive to local participation in the exploration, exploitation and processing of solid minerals resource in the country to develop locally the nation’s mines and steel sector which was been consistently taken over by foreign operators.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, who disclosed this when he received in audience a delegation of officials of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) in Abuja, observed that the local content initiative in the petroleum industry has recorded modest successes, adding that it was time the mining and steel sectors got more local participation.

The Minister noted that there was a lot of efforts to develop the nation’s mines and steel sector by the foreigners, adding that, efforts to encourage local participation by creating home-made professionals in the sector gave birth to the establishment of the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences in Jos.

He said “The idea is to generate people that will come up and go into the site and do the actual operations themselves, what they do is practical to add value.”

Arc. Sada expressed appreciation for the visit of the association, noting that, with the reforms in the sector, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is highly professional with four (4) technical departments and six (6) agencies to transform the sector into one of the revenue earners for the country.

He added that periodic training and capacity development is paramount to the development of the nation’s mines and steel sector, saying that, the sector has a control body which is the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG) over the professional bodies such as Nigerian Mining and Geoscientists Society, Nigerian Metallurgical Society among others.

The Minister lamented that none of the professional bodies in the sector was listed among members’ bodies of the association, assuring that, he would encourage them to partner with the association.

Arc. Sada disclosed that the President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the board members of the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG) which would be inaugurated by the Minister next week.

The Minister said government was able to register about seventeen (17) steel companies that are at every stage of production in the country as part of her efforts at ensuring that the steel sector which is the backbone of the nation’s industrialization is well developed.

He added that professionals such as geologists, metallurgists in the sector have done a lot of work to provide adequate information and data at ensuring the optimal performance of mining operators in the country.

He expressed optimism that collaboration between the ministry and the association would go a long way in moving the nation’s mines and steel sector forward.

Earlier in his remarks, the President of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) and the leader of the delegation,Mr.J. Segun Ajanlekoko said the purpose of the visit was to explore areas of cooperation with the ministry in order to move the sector forward in the transformation agenda of the present administration.

While intimating the Minister about the association, the President said currently, the association consists of 26 accredited professional bodies in the country with the aim of working together as one and be able to present to the government a well articulated opinion on economic, social and other national issues as well as to propose policies and strategies to enable the country attain its full potentials and greatness.

Mr. Ajanlekoko said the association which was established in 1983 and accorded Federal Government recognition in 1992 is an umbrella body of all recognized and chartered professional Institutes,Institutions,Associations and Societies in Nigeria.

The leader of the delegation appealed to government to evolve a deliberate policy for the utilization of indigenous professionals in the developmental efforts of the country. He also sought for the support of the ministry towards the association.

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  • , let’s do so now by reviewing the sfipicec quote you referred to – “Our culture is great and wonderful, but I think aspects of it were and have been manipulated into something grotesque and disreputable.”Nowhere did I state that our culture is THE cause of corruption. I did, however, attempt to point out that our culture, in my opinion, plays a part in the problem of corruption. Culturally, we are a very flamboyant people. I will even go as far as to say that we don’t encourage humility as a collective. We publicly flaunt our wealth and our prowess and exalt those who have such attributes, whether good or bad. While this might have been fine, back in the day, such an attitude can and does encourage a Keeping Up With The Joneses’ mentality where we strive to outdo each other. This can eventually lead to some individuals breaking the rules a little bit at a time in order to achieve the success they seek to portray to others. When Mr. A figures out how Mr. B broke the rules to build his fancy mansion and also notices that Mr. B. is not in jail, Mr. A will simply tell himself Man must chop’ and break a few rules himself. With that, the cycle begins.In general, our culture does not particularly encourage questioning our elders or those that must be treated with respect. What happens when those people are the same ones who empty the national coffers for their personal benefit and our national detriment? We all turn a blind eye and call them Alaye Baba’ when they drive by in their Maybachs despite the clear and obvious abuse of power. We all also notice that Alaye Baba is not in jail and flies between Lagos and Switzerland, where his kids are in boarding school and we think to ourselves, Man must chop’ and start chopping wherever and whenever we can.Anyway, despite your strong objection, I am not the first to acknowledge a link between culture and corruption. Studies in Italy have concluded that corruption is prevalent in cultures that encourage strong family relationships, coupled with other additional factors, of course. (Banfield (1958)) Additionally, other scholars have determined that corruption is also prevalent in cultures that place emphasis on financial achievement and/or success yet fail to provide adequate means to achieve such goals. (Sound familiar?) (SOCIAL THEORY AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE by Merton, R. (1968)). Consequently, there is empirical data to support this last point and it can be found in Lipset, Seymour Martin, and Gabriel Salman Lenz, Corruption, Culture, and Markets, in Culture Matters, Lawrence E. Harrison, and Samuel P. Huntington, eds.Back to the quote you referred to, I also mentioned that aspects of our culture had been manipulated into something grotesque and disreputable. That implies that initially, there was a time when our culture did not have the aspects I now consider grotesque or disreputable. Where and when things went wrong, well please refer to my chicken vs. egg statement to Donzman. At no point was there even a hint of a suggestion that Nigeria’s culture is inferior to any other. It is simply unique and like all others has its negatives and positives. Again, my point is that aspects of who we are, culturally, contributed and continue to contribute to the menace that is Nigerian corruption. As to whether our various tribal cultures didn’t have problems before the British came, well that is clearly a discussion for another day. I can inform you that I am not convinced that we lived in a utopian society. I also, do not feel the need to blame anybody (I.e. Brits and other European colonialists) for the trouble we are in now. That of course, does not mean that there are no rational reasons to place blame on others for their actions or inactions. Despite this, regardless of who, how or why we have issues, the fact remains that we, and no one else, have these issues. Therefore, it is our responsibility to seek a solution. And that is all I am trying to do, seek a solution by first considering the possible factors that caused the malaise, in this case – corruption, in the first place.Like I mentioned before, please feel free to drop some knowledge on us.