Capacity Gap, Bane of Mineral Raw Material Products Devt, Says Minister 

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By Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bawa Bwari, has identified capacity gap as one of the major factors militating against the development of the mineral raw materials products in Nigeria metal sector.
Bwari, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by the ministry’s Director of Press, Mr. Edwin Opara, noted that sustainable metal sector is the techno-economic backbone of national development of any nation including Nigeria.
The minister, who spoke through the Director, Metallurgical Inspectorate and Raw Materials Development (MI&RMD), Mr. Victor Ihebinike, at a training organised for stakeholders in the sector by MI&RMD of the ministry, said the vision and mission of the change agenda of the federal government cannot be realised unless there is a timely and sustainable metal production in Nigeria.
According to him, the training is basically to provide strategies aimed at bridging capacity gaps in the development of mineral raw materials and products in the Nigerian metal sector.
“We believe that the metal industries in Nigeria could still be resuscitated to provide the necessary vehicle for industrial transformation and growth, provided there is will, commitment and genuine patriotism.
“The mission of the metallurgical plants in Nigeria was a consequence of a well mapped out strategy to achieve clearly stated objectives which include the provision of solid industrial base for technological development, the promotion of modern technological transfer and the acquisition, conservation of foreign exchange, export promotion and job creation,” he said.
While asserting that minerals and metals are essential to modern industrial activities necessary for global development and improvement of quality of life, Bwari attributed poor performance of the Nigeria metal and steel sector to inadequate funding, poor planning and implementation as well as political influences.
Mr. Gabriel Atabo in his presentation during the training suggested the need for the Research/Development and Advisory Committee to be put in place to check the gaps, adding that collaboration with other countries that are developed in the sector like Russia, India, China and South Africa would bring incentives and broader scope in dealing with the challenges facing the metal sector in Nigeria.