The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite has called on Agencies of the ministry to explore the opportunities afforded by innovation toward increasing the revenue generated by the sector, stating that public sector establishments must exhibit ingenious strategies and play their crucial roles to ensure the realization of set goals for the sector, especially the diversification of the economy.
Adegbite, who gave the charge during the presentation of the award of ‘Best Digital Innovation of Government in 2022,’ bestowed on the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) by Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), to the Minister, in Abuja, on Monday, commended the Director-General of the MCO, Engr Obadiah Simon Nkom for exhibiting sterling leadership qualities that led to the recognition, stating that Agencies in the sector must emulate the feat.
While saying that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari did well to provide funds needed for the development of the mining sector, the minister explained that as part of extra budgetary funding, the ministry was granted N30bn from the Natural Resources Development Fund in 2017, and was further granted a World Bank support fund through the MinDiver project, stating that the combination of both funding strengthened the ability of the sector to achieve critical goals.
While commending the MCO for the quantum leap it scored in revenue generation for the sector over the past four years, he noted that the mineral licensing agency scaled revenue projections as it sometimes doubled previously generated revenue within one year.
According to the minister, ‘there is no doubt that mines and steel sector is the way to go to diversify the economy from oil and gas dependency,’ adding that the Nigerian mining sector is currently getting international attention needed to propel economic diversification.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Mrs. Oluwatoyin Akinlade said described the presentation ceremony as ‘a very remarkable occasion in the annals of the ministry as we celebrate one of our own.’
‘We celebrate the outstanding performance of one of our agencies, the Mining Cadastre Office.’
She explained that ‘digitalization and innovation are core elements of the service improvement agenda of the Head of Service of the Federation,’ adding that it is gratifying that the MCO has been rated the best in digital innovation among the Federal establishments in Nigeria for the Year 2022.
‘I therefore specially congratulate the Director General of the MCO, Engr Simon Nkom and all the staff for achieving the feat,’ she said.
While saying that the accomplishment did not come without challenges, she commended the Engr Nkom-led Management of the MCO for commitment to set goals, saying that they were not deterred and were able to forge ahead.
She also commended Arc Olamilekan Adegbite for his ‘focused leadership, and for giving clear direction to the sector.’
The Permanent Secretary enjoined other agencies and directorates in the ministry to key into the improvement agenda of the Head of Service of the Federation, especially in the area of digitalization that can be used to address emerging challenges.
She said innovation and ICT expertise will highly improve service delivery of the MCO, assuring that processes will soon be automated in the ministry to improve transparency and workflow.
‘A couple of months ago, we received notification from the anti corruption and transparency unit of the ICPC to the SCTU unit that MMSD Transparency index has improved from 26% in 2020 to 76% in 2021. Transparency is the way to go. We are transparent in processes and service delivery.’
‘This is the way to go: we are transparent in our services and we are diligent in our processes,’ she added.
Director General, MCO, Engr Simon Nkom who officially presented the award to the minister, thanked the minister for the ‘support and open cheque he selfishly gave the MCO,’ adding that it is responsible for the success of the agency.
While saying that the MCO has already started receiving applications online, Nkom said the web domain is soon to be open for all.
While saying that NIRA is a Nigerian unique identity on the world wide web, Nkom explained that .ng is the critical national resource of Nigeria, adding that the contribution of MCO to building the economy using technology and uplifting the image of .ng locally and internationally and stimulating the development of local content on the world wide web earned it the award of the most innovative public sector organization.