The Director General of the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), Engr Prof. Linus Asuquo has called for urgent and adequate intervention in the Research and Development Sector of the economy, stating that there is need to revamp obsolete equipment at the Research and Development institution.
A statement, signed by Head of Press and Public Relations at the NMDC, Mr. Sunny Eweama made available to our correspondent in Abuja, said the Director General who made the plea during a recent visit of the Coordinator of the World Bank Assisted Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MINDIVER), Engr Salim Sallam to the NMDC, Jos, recently, stressed the need to revitalize obsolete R&D equipment and infrastructure at the NMDC, stating that it is crucial to the mandate success of the Centre.
According to Eweama, Prof Asuquo commended the Project Coordinator for intervening by rehabilitating some of the buildings at the centre which include the WET Analysis Laboratory, SEM Building, Telecommunication Building, Foundry Workshop, Corrosion Laboratory, Clinic, Electric Arc Furnace Building (EAF) and the Public Toilet, saying that the gesture will strengthen the ability of the Centre to realise its mandate.
He said that the management and staff of the centre will ever remain grateful to the Ministers of Mines and Steel Development for approving MinDiver’s interventions in the areas of building rehabilitation and procurement of some laboratory equipment.
While he commended government for slightly increasing the budgetary allocation to Research and Development from 0.10% to 0.50%, he appealed that the budgetary allocation be increased to 3.0% or 5% as is the case in countries like Russia and South Africa.
According to Prof Asuquo, globally, research and development globally are capital intensive and Nigeria must commit to it in order to attain economic emancipation, stating that government needs to re-awaken its interest in R&D through proper legislation and more budgetary appropriation that will enable research and development agencies like the NMDC to be more result oriented.
The Project Coordinator, MinDiver, Engr Salim Sallam in his response thanked Prof. Asuquo for the laudable transformation being achieved at the NMDC.
He reminded the Director General that his developmental antecedents particularly within his short stay as helmsman of the NMDC was the major yard stick that attracted MinDiver to procure some vital laboratory equipment and rehabilitation of some specified buildings at the Centre.
According to Engr Sallam, the major purpose of the visit is to ascertain the completion of rehabilitation work at the Centre and supply of some of the procured equipment for possible commissioning and handing-over to NMDC management for use in shortest possible time.
Commending Prof Asuquo, the project Coordinator said: “the reward of hard work is additional work,” adding that the present administration is laying emphasis on Mines and Steel as veritable tools for economic diversification.
In his vote of thanks, the Director of Finance and Human Resources Management, NMDC, Dr Abubakar Yusuf Tumi commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Prof Asuquo to lead the NMDC, stating that Prof Asuquo has been able to achieve a number of set goals despite the limitations imposed by the paucity of funds and dearth of infrastructure.
He assured the MinDiver helmsman that the newly rehabilitated buildings will be used judiciously.