The Nigerian Union of Mines Workers (NUMW) has called on the Federal Government to prioritize the completion of Ajaoukta Steel Company (ASCO) and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) in 2021, stating that the potential of the institutions to create jobs and wealth has eluded Nigerians youth for too long.
In a message, titled, ‘Yuletide: NUMW felicitates with Nigerians, wants FG to prioritize completion of ASCO, NIOMCO in 2021,’ signed by the President of the Union, Comr. Hamza Mohammed, the union said: ‘As an affiliate of the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC), the Nigerian Union of Mines Workers is disturbed by the low level of employment opportunities currently available in national institutions in the country’s mining sector, particularly ASCO and NIOMCO, and we are of the opinion that the operationalisation of ASCO and NIOMCO will significantly address the challenges.’
‘Nigeria needs to strengthen its commitment to advancement of technology in mining sector,’ the statement said, adding that ‘as part of institutional stakeholders that participated in the 2020 Technology Conference convened by the National Action Committee on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the NUMW can correctly say that the Nigerian Mining Sector needs to key into global best practices in mining technology.’
‘While we commend effort of government to digitalize the Mining Cadastre Office, we also desire a sector which private sector will be able to embrace world class advancements in mining technology’ the statement said, adding that there is need to harness digital technologies for economic development and expansion in the mining sector, especially in the private sector as is being advocated by the African Union under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The statement further said: ‘While wishing all our members and people of goodwill well in their endeavors, we felicitate with all Nigerians and people of goodwill in the forthcoming New Year Celebrations.’
‘We wish all our members well in the coming year, 2021, we wish them successful Christmas celebration in arrears, and New Year celebration in advance.’
‘We wish to state categorically that the strategic importance of the completion and operationalisation of Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO) and National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) cannot be overemphasized in view of the ability of the complex to create at least fifteen thousand jobs for Nigerians.’
‘While we are aware of the avowed commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to the completion of the project, we are of the opinion that government should accelerate its pace, as the pace of progress is slow, and does not represent Nigeria’s passion for progress in the area of jobs creation.’
‘We specifically task the Federal Government and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development as well as the steering committee for the implementation of completion and operationalisation of ASCO to work to realize set goals in the coming year 2021. If this is achieved, it will represent great gains for the country in terms of jobs creation, industrialization and national economic development.’
The union called on government to convene a stakeholders consultative conference on the Nigerian Mines and Steel Sector, stating that if convened, it will serve as platform for the discussion of the challenges of the sector by relevant stakeholders who know the sector well enough, to give correct advice to the government.