Director-General, National Metallurgical Development Centre, NMDC, Jos, Prof Linus Asuquo says with adequate funding especially in research and development, the country’s mining sector will be able to ensure economic growth and sustainability.
Speaking to newsmen, in Abuja Asuquo stated that there can not be industrialization progression in the country if there was no adequate funding in research and development saying that a lot of funding was needed for the development of solid minerals which was capital intensive.
The NMDC Boss noted that in the drive to diversify the economy through mining and bringing in investors, adequate budget should be made for research and development as no country would be able to move forward with a 0.1 percent allocation for research.
He said especially for the solid minerals sector of which the country is blessed with about 44 minerals has to invest in accurate data gathering to attract investors due to the draining prices of oil.
“The country had only invested 0.1percent in research and development until the present administration’s upgrade to 0.5 percent.
As you are aware this country is blessed with about 44 solid minerals and Jos in Plateau State is blessed with so many of such minerals and was recognized as the second-best in the world, Because of oil, these minerals were abandoned adding that there has been a rethinking that we should concentrate on our solid minerals to increase revenue and diversify the economy because of the draining prices of oil” Asuquo stated.
The NMDC boss explained that on its part due to the draining prices of oil and the present administration’s concentrate to diversify the economy through the mining sector the centre has been working assiduously not only for the state brand but for all resources from the states across the country to improve on research and development.
Prof Asuquo stated that though there was no adequate funding for the centre it has been able to upgrade its equipment for the production of iron ore and to improve its value in the markets.
“Hitherto in this country, people came from outside to carry our minerals at very cheap rates without adding any value” Prof Asuquo added.
According to Professor Asuquo at NMDC before now the equipment has been very obsolete, there were no funds for repairing them to standard as the budget for the centre was not adequate but with determination, he had been able to restructure the management, staff and have provided adequate security to uplift the centre.
He said that the NMDC has also had a collaboration with MinDiver/ World Bank Projects to renovate the centre to standards stressing that the centre has signed an MOU partnership with DICON in December 2020 for the production of raw materials for ammunition to enable revenue generation.
“We had to go to the House to appeal for an increase in our budget allocation because we need a lot of funding so as to enable for revenue generation noting that On the 1st of December 2020, the MOU with DICON was signed what we are waiting for the fund to enable us buy accessories to produce lead, steel and brass to produce these ammuments locally,” he added.
He called on the federal government to continue with its provision of top security especially in mining states urging that there should be a synergy with state government so as to attract investors and drive towards economic development.