By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Following the Federal Government’s quest to industrialize the nation’s economy, the National Metallurgical Development Centre, NMDC, Jos, yesterday, called for a focus on revitalization of infrastructure and obsolete equipment in research and development centres across the country.
The call was made by the Director-General, NMDC, Engr Linus Asuquo, in a statement signed by Head, Press and Public Relations, NMDC, Sunny Eweama, during a visit of Project Coordinator, World Bank Assisted Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project, MINDIVER, Engr Salim Sallam, for project inspection at the Centre.
Asuquo said the need for proper and adequate intervention in the Research and Development Sector of the economy remains the bedrock of any industrialization of the nation’s economy.
He said: “Research and development globally is capital intensive and for Nigeria to be emancipated economically there is need for government to reawaken its interest in R and D through proper legislation and more budgetary appropriation that will catalyze research and development agencies like NMDC to be more result-oriented.”
However, he also commended MINDIVER for coming up with intervention projects, especially for rehabilitating some buildings at the Centre , including WET Analysis Laboratory, SEM Building, Telecommunication Building, Foundry Workshop, Corrosion Laboratory, Clinic, Electric Arc Furnace Building (EAF) and public toilet, and added that with this laudable impact it will go a long way to assist the Centre realize its mandate.
He also expressed gratitude on behalf of management and staff of the Centre for the Ministers of Mines and Steel Development over approval MinDiver’s interventions in the areas of building rehabilitation and procurement of some laboratory equipment.
The NMDC boss acknowledged the government’s slight increase in budgetary allocation to research and development from 0.1 per cent to 0.5 per cent, but requested for upward review of the allocation to three or five per cent while comparing such to countries like Russia and South Africa.
The Project Coordinator, MinDiver, Engr Salim Sallam, in his response thanked the DG for the laudable transformation he is carrying out in NMDC.
Disclosing why MINDIVER awarded various infrastructural contracts to the Centre, Sallam said it was based on the DG’s developmental antecedents particularly within his short stay in NMDC, which made the MinDiver to procure some vital laboratory equipment and rehabilitated some specified buildings at the Centre.
According to him, the major purpose of their visit to NMDC was to ascertain the completion of rehabilitation work carried out including supply of some of the procured equipment for possible commissioning and handing over to NMDC management for use in the shortest possible time.
He added that, “reward of hard work is additional work”, and used the visit to re-echo emphasis the present administration is laying on mines and steel as veritable tool for economic diversification which according to him the Ministry has resolved not to be found wanting.