The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Ewa, has urged Nigerians to accelerate the pace of development and utilisation of local raw materials for the country’s industrialisation and technological advancement.
The minister, who was represented by Adeniyi Talabi, the Acting Director of Skills Acquisition in the Ministry, made the appeal on Friday in Abuja at the public presentation of a book on Thamar marble product.
Ewa said that Thamar Surfaces Limited, a local marble producing firm, had exploited over 80 per cent of local raw materials for its production, including that of thamar marble and granite products.
``This exploitation of local raw materials by the company has contributed to the industrial development and economic growth of the country.
``The most interesting aspect of the company’s achievement is that the company is using over 80 per cent local raw materials as input for her product.
``We should open our minds to new ideas and approaches to local mineral raw materials development and utilisation as done by Thamar Surfaces Limited.’’
Ewa said that the products would replace those being imported for the building and construction industry.
``It will also lead to reduction in the importation of goods, generation of employment, balance of trades and technology transfer for rapid economic growth and transformation.’’
The minister said that the products had been tested and confirmed to meet international standard.
Ewa said the presentation was to sensitise stakeholders in the building and construction industry and to solicit their patronage of the products.
In his remarks, the Director-General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Prof Peter Onwualu, said the presentation was to showcase what Nigerians could do for the development of the country.
He urged Nigerians to be part of the transformation agenda of Mr President, adding that ``the only way we can transform the country was to look inward by using our own raw materials.
``We cannot transform until we produce what we need. We have natural resources that are begging to be processed but all we do is importing.
``What this company had done was not to wait for what the country will do for it, but to do it with what was available from the local raw materials.’’
Onwualu identified machines, which are being imported, as the only challenge to the production of the marble in the country, saying that with time, all the machines would be manufactured in the country.
He said that government could not do the business alone without the support of investors and private individuals.
``All we need is to exploit our raw materials. This country cannot be developed except by ourselves. The dream of the Council is to get processing centres in every local government for our raw materials.’’
Earlier, the company's chief executive, Mr Thamar Udoh, said the achievement of Thamar marble had been a dream of 14 years.
He said that Thamar marble had been in existence for two years, adding that the product was presently located in Abua.
Udoh listed other company products as luxury top surfaces, sanitary wares, tiles and washing hand basins.