02 December 2015, Jos – The Federal Government has reiterated that solid mineral development remains its priority sector under its economic diversification programme and new direction of revenue generation.
This was stated by the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, during a tour of the Nigerian Metallurgical Development Centre, NMDC, Jos, Plateau State.
Fayemi who was accompanied by the Minister of State in the ministry, Alhaji Abubakar Bwari and the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Istifanus Fuktur, maintained that activities at the centre will no longer be business as usual, and called on staff to give their full cooperation to achieve stated goals.
He said: “What this sector means to the leadership of this country today, President Muhammadu Buhari has not minced words about what is expected of the solid minerals sector in the economic diversification programme of the Nigeria of today.
“With varied units within the solid minerals sector, we have also familiarised ourselves with what is going on there, but we decided that our tenure will not be complete if we don’t visit and see what is going on in the various institutions.
“In this era of change it will not be business as usual. Like this centre that has been in existence for a considerable time we would like to see how it works to full capacity, and to whom much is expected much is also given, and we will give the centre the necessary support.
“But we will also be very firm in our expectation and things will not be done the normal bureaucratic manner some are used to and some ‘feathers’ will be ruffled in the course of achieving the objectives in the sector we have and I want you to sit up and to return the sector to its pride of place by turning it to a major revenue earner and employer of labour in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, in his earlier address, Director General, NMDC, Prof Ibrahim Madugu, highlighted some remarkable achievements by the centre after its establishment by decree 50 of 1992.
“Progress made so far at repositioning the centre has made it possible for us to reach out to relevant and private agencies in order to offer our services so as to fast track capacity building in the metallurgical and solid minerals sector of our economy.
“Operation of various equipment and facilities at NMDC will require considerable amount of funds. Procurement of consumables and electricity bills amount to significant cost of operation. I therefore crave your indulgence to seek your intervention for the increase of the centre’s overhead allocations so that the equipment and facilities will be effectively utilised.
“Adequate funding is also required to complete the various on-going capital projects at the centre. Details of our requirements are contained in our 2016 budget proposals,” he added.