From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has said that the mining sector is the key enabler in providing all necessary raw materials for public infrastructure and other developments in the country.
Adegbite stated this in Abuja at the inaugural ceremony of the 10-man National Steel Council. He reiterated that the steel industry remains the backbone of every modern society.
“The steel industry serves as a key enabler in the economy by providing the basic raw materials for public infrastructure development projects and key sectors such as housing and real estate development, energy, automotive, defence, and various, small & medium enterprises engaged in downstream engineering and fabrication business”.
“The sector has significant forward and backward linkages regarding material flow, employment, and income generation.
“Indeed Mr President is aware of this which is why he has approved the reconstitution of the National Steel Council.”
Adegbite explained that “the National Steel Act clearly makes adequate provisions for the establishment of the National Steel council, which would be responsible for the central planning of the iron and steel industry.
“The Council shall consist of a chairman, executive secretary, four board members, and one representative drawn from the following Federal Ministries, which are Industry; Finance; Power, and Steel.”
The Permanent Secretary, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, in her remarks expressed optimism that the Council will complement the efforts by the Ministry, in ensuring that the development of the industry is in continuous progression, despite the hurdles that are being experienced.
Akinlade further disclosed that, as part of the Council’s mandates, it will also be responsible for “training of Nigerians in all aspects of the iron and steel industry and related fields”; “the deployment of senior Nigerian Management Staff and Trainees to steel plants and other sectors of the industry”; and especially for “Research into the Development and Manufacture of equipment to be used for the purpose of and in relation to-basic engineering in the steel industry”; is very significant and heart-warming to witness this inauguration.
“I say this, because, the function of this Council is designed to cover areas that will contribute to developing the relevant human capacity and necessary tools that will be needed to build up and sustain the Metallurgical and Steel Sector”
“It will interest you to know that, to ensure effective functionality of this committee, its members have been drawn from four pertinent Federal Ministries; and from some of the Government Steel Companies; and also from the private sector.
The council’s chairman, Mohammed Murtala Aliyu, appreciated the ministry for giving them the opportunity to serve the government and pledged to put in their best.