FG Accelerates Sustainable Research Devt In Steel Sector

L-R: The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Steel Development/Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Mary Ogbe; Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu; and Director-general, National Metallurgical Development Centre, Prof. Linus Asuquo when the minister paid a working visit to the centre’s headquarters in Jos, Plateau State.

The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s unwavering commitment to bolstering the nation’s economy and enhancing the gross domestic product (GDP) by establishing a sustainable research system for the steel sector.

The minister, accompanied by the permanent secretary, Dr. Mary Ogbe conveyed this commitment during a working visit to the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC) in Jos, Plateau State, between Wednesday, 28 and Thursday, 29 February, 2024.

Audu emphasised the imperative role of research in the steel industry, underscoring that sustained exploration and investigation are crucial for discovering and improving products and services in the sector. He declared, “The National Metallurgical Development Centre is not merely a historical asset; it is a strategic research engine for the nation’s steel industry.”

Audu acknowledged the pivotal role of research in the development of the steel industry, emphasising, “No nation can truly develop without the concurrent advancement of its steel industry.”

Highlighting the uniqueness of the NMDC, the minister underscored its mandate to provide essential research and development inputs for the growth of the mining, minerals and allied sectors, with a specific focus on Nigeria’s steel industry. He pointed out that the NMDC stands as the only facility in West Africa with integrated facilities for mineral evaluation, metallurgical processes, adaptation and improvement, mineral and metal testing, as well as environmental pollution studies. Audu asserted that, with the right impetus, the centre can proactively support the nation’s economic growth by developing local capacities along the mineral value chain.

Furthermore, Prince Audu disclosed the NMDC’s commitment to directing research and development activities towards the domestication of findings into productive small and medium-scale ventures. He emphasized the pivotal role of SMEs as micro drivers of the economy and announced the centre’s intention to undertake targeted research projects to address industry needs and utilize Nigeria’s abundant metallurgical raw materials.

Tasking the members and staff of the NMDC, the minister urged collective efforts to reposition the steel and other metals sector as the bedrock of industrialisation. He implored them to renew their commitment, drive, focus and dedication to support the ministry in achieving its mandates.

In her remarks, Ogbe enjoined the staff to maintain discipline, adhere to rules and work as a team to promote the National Metallurgical Development Centre for optimal productivity.

Earlier, the director-general of the NMDC, Prof. Linus Asuquo emphasised the indispensability of research in the steel sector, stating that “without research, steel cannot roll.” Prof. Asuquo highlighted the centre’s unique position in the steel and metals sector and expressed optimism that, under the leadership of the ministers and permanent secretary, the NMDC would become a centre of excellence in minerals and metals research, comparable to other global steel research centres.

In a related development, during a courtesy visit to the Plateau State governor, His Excellency Caleb Mutfwang, the minister stated that the purpose of the visit was to assess the challenges and opportunities of the National Metallurgical Development Centre. He expressed the ministry’s commitment to collaborate with the Plateau State Government in revitalising the Jos Steel Rolling Mill (now known as the Zuma Steel Rolling Mill). The minister affirmed the ministry’s dedication to revitalising the steel sector for the benefit of Nigerians.

Mutfwang assured of the state’s willingness to synergise with the Federal Government in reviving the steel sector for economic growth. He emphasised that the state would directly benefit from the revival, as the Jos Steel Rolling Mill would, when fully operational, create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the citizens of Jos.

A statement from the ministry’s head of press and public relations department, Tine-Iulun, M. A revealed that the minister, during the working visit to Jos, Plateau State, also paid a courtesy visit to the Gbong Gwom Jos and conducted a facility tour of the Zuma Steel Rolling Mill.

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