The quest for the revitalization of the Nigerian metallurgical industry received no mean boost on Tuesday, as the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC) collaborated with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) on technical cooperation for the development of the steel and related sectors in the interest of national industrial and metallurgical development.
The Terms of Reference of the MoU signed by the Chief Executives of the collaborating public sector organizations relate to equipment and facilities support in the areas of metallurgy research and development, minerals research and development, analytical and environmental services, consultancy services in metallurgy, mineral processing, analytical and environmental-related issues. Other areas of the cooperation are capacity-building, equipment and machine design, fabrication, spares and component parts production, equipment and machinery maintenance, repairs and training, supply of research equipment and shared facilities, joint research and development and commercial ventures, as well as other areas as may be determined by both parties.
The Director-General of the NMDC, Prof. Linus Asuquo who spoke at the ceremony said NMDC and NASENI would work together in the interest of restoring the steel sector and set the country on the path of industrialization. He said the dividends of industrialization are jobs and wealth, adding that they must be delivered to the citizenry.
Asuquo, a highly regarded Metallurgical Engineer and Professor of Metallurgy further discussed the imperative of the collaboration saying: “I want to let us know that one unique thing about the leadership of NMDC and NASENI is that we share a strong passion to harness local raw materials to build a strong economic and industrialized nation as directed by Mr. President through Executive Order 5.”
Emphasizing the crucial importance of metallurgical development as a prelude to industrialization, Prof Asuquo said: “Nigeria needs steel to industrialize and take its prime place in the committee of powerful nations.”
Engr. Linus Asuquo agreed with the NASENI boss that Nigeria cannot go very far without a vibrant iron and steel industry, and called on relevant institutional stakeholders and professional bodies to work together to restore the industry.
Prof. Linus Asuquo who signed the document on behalf of the NMDC thanked the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI for providing a visionary leadership in promoting the science, technology and innovation sector of the Nigerian economy.
He also commended the reforms at NASENI under the Mohammed Haruna led leadership, and described the Executive Vice Chairman as an “uncommon reformer,” stating that the various strides attained so far by the agency are valuable for national development.
While NMDC was established as a research and development organisation with the mandate to carry out research and development activities for the metallurgical and allied industries for the growth of the nation’s solid minerals sector, NASENI has the mandate of providing research and developmental works in the areas of capital goods, machines and equipment for the purpose of developing a home-grown and home-sustained industrial development of the country.
Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive, NASENI, Engr Prof Mohammed Haruna said that no quest to industrialize will yield fruit without the development of the iron and steel sector, stating that Nigeria needs to build most of its machines and equipment locally to deepen innovation and make the manufacturing of goods and services become part and parcel of national culture.
Haruna explained that for industrialization to become sustainable in any country, the steel, iron and tools required to build the machines needed to sustain both the productive and manufacturing capacities of the country, to a large extent, must be developed locally.
“Without the full participation of NMDC and the metallurgical development subsector of the economy, it is extremely difficult to industrialize Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking further, the Executive Vice Chairman disclosed that the newly signed MoU between NASENI and NMDC would provide a threshold for the resuscitation of Nigeria’s iron and steel sector and the beginning of the genuine revitalization of its industrial sector.
“The NMDC is the real development centre to make our nation economically viable and the MoU between the centre and NASENI today is to put the sustainable development of the manufacturing industry on the right track.”
He said the reasons why many Nigerian industries are not viable is because the support for making the local iron, steel and tools, machines and equipment are not home-grown nor home-sustained innovations available.
“We keep importing everything into Nigeria and no nation can develop that way.”
Haruna assured that the working collaboration was instituted to provide a solid foundation for the steel and iron sector of Nigeria to flourish because the subsector is the foundation for the prosperity of the nation’s manufacturing sector.