FG geared towards sustainable research development in Steel Sector

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L-R: The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Steel Development/Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Mary A Ogbe; Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, Honourable Minister of Steel Development and the Director-General, National Metallurgical Development Centre, Jos, Prof. Linus Asuquo during the Minister’s working visit to the Centre in Jos, Plateau State on Thursday 29th February, 2024.

By Palma Ileye

Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu has reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to improve the country’s economy and grow the Gross Domestic Product through the Steel Sector, by ensuring it establish a sustainable research system for the development of the sector.

According to the Ministry’s press release, Audu who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mary Ogbe made this known during his Working Visit to the National Metallurgical Development Centre, NMDC, Jos, Plateau State between Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th February, 2024.

The Minister while emphasizing the need for research in the steel industry, noted that the Sector can only be kept in position to serve its manifold purposes through determined searching and probing that would lead to discovery and improvement products and services in the steel sector.

He disclosed that: “The National Metallurgical Development Centre is not just a historical asset, it is a strategic research engine for the nation’s steel industry. This is because no nation can really develop without the development of its steel industry, and pivotal to the development of the steel industry is Research.”

Also, he disclosed that the Centre’s mandate to offer research and development inputs necessary for the development of the mining, minerals and allied sectors, with specific focus on the steel industry in Nigeria was very strategic, noting that the center is the only one of its kind in the West African sub-region with integrated facilities to carry out mineral evaluation, metallurgical processes, adaption and improvement, mineral and metal testing and environmental pollution studies.

He added that the Center has the capacity to proactively support the growth of the nation’s economy by developing local capacities along the mineral value chain activities, given the right impetus.

Speaking further, Audu revealed that the Research and Development of NMDC activities will be geared towards the domestication of Research findings into productive Small and Medium Scale ventures, as according to him, SMEs were the micro drivers of the economy, noting that going forward, the Centre shall undertake targeted research projects that aims to solve existing industry needs, so as to enable us utilize locally, the various metallurgical raw materials that Nigeria is endowed with.

He tasked Members and Staff of the Centre to work together to reposition the Steel and other Metals Sector to attain its pride of place as the bedrock of industrialization and implored them to renew their commitment, drive, focus, and dedication towards supporting the Ministry to actualize its mandates.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mary Ogbe enjoined the staff to be disciplined and adhere to rules in the discharge of their duties and ensure they work as a team to promote the National Metallurgical Development Centre for optimal productivity.

Earlier, the Director General of the National Metallurgical Development Centre Prof. Linus Asuquo, reiterating that without research Steel can not roll, noting that the Research Centre was a unique Agency in the Steel and Metals Sector that its activities are crucial in value addition and development processes in the entire Steel processing chain, from exploration to extraction and to fabrication.

Asuquo while reeling out the numerous achievements of the Centre as well as some of its challenges, expressed optimism that with the leadership of the Ministers and Permanent Secretary, the NMDC would become a Centre of Excellence in Minerals and Metals Research that will be at par with other Steel Research Centres in the world.

In a related development, the Minister during a courtesy visit to the Executive Governor of Plateau State, His Excellency Caleb Mutfwang stated that the purpose for the visit to the State was to get an on-the-spot assesment of the National Metallurgical Development Centre in order to ascertain its challenges and opportunities and proper possible solutions that will ensure that the research Centre operate at full capacity as well as seek collaboration with the Plateau State Government in reviving the Jos Steel Rolling Mill now known as the Zuma Steel Rolling Mill in the State.

He added that the Ministry was committed towards fulfilling its mandate of revitalising the Steel Sector for the benefit of Nigerians.

In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, His Excellency Caleb Mutftwang assured of the State willingness to synergise with the Federal Government in reviving the Steel Sector for the growth of the economy.

He stated that the State would directly benefit from the revival of the Steel Sector as according to him, the Jos Steel Rolling Mill when in full operation will create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the teeming Jos citizens.

The Minister during the working visit to Jos, Plateau State, also paid a courtesy visit to the Gbong Gworm Jos as well as had a facility tour of the Zuma Steel Rolling Mill.