Uche Usim, Abuja
Efforts to boost local content in science and technology deepened at the weekend as the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NDMC), Jos is partnering the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), Kaduna, to design and utilize home-grown solutions that will boost the utilization of local raw materials in engineering, production and fabrication.
The collaboration leverages the Executive Order 5 signed into law by President Mohammadu Buhari on February 5, 2018; which encourages the utilization of local raw materials in the production process and the procurement of local products in science, engineering and technology. Speaking while hosting a delegation from DICON led by Air Commodore Friday Ekpa, the Director-General/ Chief Executive, NDMC, Prof Linus Asuquo hailed the signing of EO5, describing it as a catalyst needed to deepen local content in engineering.
The team was on a two-day working visit to assess the facilities domiciled in NMDC with a view to determining those that could be utilized by DICON to support production in accordance with the Corporation’s local content policy.
According to the NDMC boss, the coming of the team was timely considering the current economic realities that have compelled every country to look inwards and harness inherent potential, especially in research and development.
He said: “With the zeal of your Director-General, Maj. Gen. Ezugwu and my resolve to turn around this Centre, I think, we are in a hurry to bring about development.
“Please feel free to tour round the facilities at the Centre to ascertain your areas of interest”, Asuquo said. He urged the visiting DICON officials not to be deterred by their findings, as the outcome of the visit would form the basis of signing the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organizations.
Asuquo reiterated that the only way for organizations to answer the clarion call of President Buhari on the utilization of local raw materials was through collaborations, citing MINTECH in South Africa as a good example of collaboration.
He assured them that the NMDC was poised to meet DICON’s expectations considering the technical capabilities of the centre. He informed the team that some of the pilot plants at the centre are locally fabricated in line with Nigeria’s local content policy.
Asuquo implored the government to inject more resources into Research and Development; as well as industries, considering the pivotal roles they play in creating jobs and boosting the economy.
Responding, the leader of the DICON delegation, Commodore Friday Ekpa assured the NDMC boss of robust collaboration, especially as both organizations have embraced and domesticated the local content policy.
Ekpa pointed out that the team of engineering and technical experts he came with would carry out thorough findings so as to set a pace for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies.
He told the DG that with the decent environment NMDC operates in, it has proven itself as the epicentre for Research and Development in Nigeria.
Ekpa who is also the Director of Production in DICON informed Asuquo that the DG, DICON, Maj. Gen. Victor Okwudili Ezugwu would be pleased to welcome a team from NMDC, Jos, to avail themselves with the industrial revolution taking place there, using local raw materials through local Content policy.