By Odimmegwa Johnpeter/Abuja
Operators in the Metal Industry have applauded effort of the Federal Government in reviving the Minerals and Metals sector of the economy, saying that it is the pathway to industrial development of the country.
The stakeholders made the assertion while commenting on paper presentations made at the 2nd Nigeria Metallurgical Industry Stakeholders’ Forum (MISF) organized by Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, for operators in the industry in North East geopolitical zone in Bauchi, Bauchi State on August 18 and 19, 2020.
In addition, they said Government should continue to partner stakeholders in the industry with a view to contributing to policies to enhance the sector.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Edet Akpan, said that the forum was to provide opportunity for stakeholders in the industry to interact and contribute to efforts of government towards repositioning the sector heard towards economic recovery in the era of COVID 19 pandemic.
The Permanent Secretary, represented by Director, Special Duties, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olayinwole Adebayo, said the theme of the forum, “COVID 19 Pandemic: Impact and way forward for economic recovery and growth through value addition in the Minerals and Metals sector”, is in tandem with the post COVID 19 strategic plan for economic recovery of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his words, “There is no gainsaying the fact that the steel and other metals development have unarguably remained the bedrock of industrialization, sustainable growth and development of nations, hence the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is poised now than ever to create enabling environment for metallurgical operators and all other allied metal outfits in the sector towards generating employment, creating wealth and reducing poverty.”
He said the Ministry has articulated strategies and activities for the development of the metallurgical sector with a view to taking it to where we should be, including repressing the Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill for passing and assent, liaising with Nigeria Custom Service towards curbing incessant dumping of substandard steel and other metal products in Nigeria, as well as export of banned scrap metals, and building confidence with private Metallurgical plants operators in the country among others.
In his remarks, Special Assistant to the Honourable Minster, Ministry of Mines and Steel Developments. Sunny Ekozin, said the Ministry is fortunate to have patriots in its leadership, the Honourable Minister, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, and Honourable Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, who are passionate and committed to take the bull by the horn in reviving the Minerals and Metals sector.
He said the Ministry under their leadership, are outing in place strategies to develop the entire gamut of the sector, both upstream and downstream. Specifically, he said the Ministers have ensured that the Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill come to reality. Also, that a policy document on the entire downstream value addition is being prepared to be presented to the Federal Executive Council.
He urged operators in the Industry, especially those in the North East, to partner with the Ministry and support efforts of government, saying that in the next two years the sector will turn around for the better.
In a goodwill message, the Executive Secretary, African Iron and Steel Association, ASIA, Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, noted that the effort of government to reposition the Metallurgical sector is in the right direction, especially the Government to Government arrangement with Russia to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Company, saying that if completely carried out will give impetus to metal industries development in the country.