Barely one week after the CEO, Georcardinal Engineering Services, Engr Titilope Adeyemo advised the incoming Minister of Mines and Steel Development (who is yet to be named by the president) to “address the capacity development needs of the solid minerals sector as a strategy to consolidate on achievements of the Buhari administration in the sector,” the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu has given impetus to the advice, saying that professional bodies in the sector particularly the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS, must “focus on capacity building and development especially in the mining sector.”
The Permanent Secretary who gave the charge at the investiture ceremony of Engr Simon Obadiah Nkom as the 30th President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) recently, said “it is regrettable that despite the country’s solid mineral endowments and prestigious institutions offering reputable courses in the sector, Nigeria still lacks internationally recognized competent persons in mining and geosciences.”
The Permanent Secretary further lamented that because Nigeria lacks internationally recognised competent persons, the country had no choice but hire external international competent persons to execute geosciences tasks in the country.
While saying that “the situation should not be acceptable to the NMGS,” he expressed confidence in the ability of the new NMGS President to change the situation saying: “Going by the pedigree of Engr Simon Nkom and the credibility of the NMGS as an institution, I believe that Nigeria has what it takes to change the situation,” adding that before the end of Nkom’s tenure as NMGS President, Nigeria should be able to boast of at least five internationally recognised competent persons in the geosciences and mining sector.
The permanent secretary who disclosed that the ministry “aspires to invest heavily in generating quality geosciences data,” congratulated Engr Nkom who doubles as the Director General of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO).
Earlier in the week, at an exclusive interview with our correspondent, the Managing Director, Geocardinal Engineering Services, Engr Titilope Adeyemo called on government to develop capacity of individuals and institutions in the sector.
Adeyemo who commended government for the foresight exhibited by the credible appointments recently made into agencies under the ministry noted that “government needs to seriously invest in capacity building.”
“Although I don’t know who would be appointed the next Minister of Mines and Steel Development, but ahead of the appointment, I wish to advice government to seriously consider addressing the need for capacity development in the mining sector.
“The lack of capacity is the reason why indigenous mining companies have not been able to achieve the successes scored by their foreign counterparts, even when the local companies work very hard.
“The incoming minister should understand that unless government puts in place strategies to develop the capacity of the sector to deliver, it would be challenging to realise the economic diversification agenda via the mining sector even though the government must be commended for the various efforts it has made so far.
He said: “Government should invite the best technical experts in the world to Nigeria to train all staff in the mining sector,” stating that if the problem of capacity dearth is solved, the mining sector will be able to favorably compete with the oil and gas sector.
“If we are able to build capacity of the mining sector, the sector will definitely surpass the Oil & Gas sector as Nigeria’s major revenue earner,” he assured.
Giving reasons for the conviction, Adeyemo said: “This is sure because when capacity is boosted and strengthened, revenue leakages in the mining sector will be blocked, revenue generation will increase while capital flight will be brought to an end, and the sector can even contribute as high as thirty percent or more to the nation’s GDP.”
Discussing how capacity building can be rooted, Adeyemo who is a COREN-Registered Engineer said: “The mining sector can take a clue from how doctors are trained: Students of geosciences in the universities should be made to undergo what can be likened to housemanship in order to acquaint themselves with practical knowledge of what they learnt in the classroom.”
“The health sector has no such challenge because doctors are made to undergo one year housemanship while still in school, so too pharmacists and nurses,” he added.