By Nkechi Isaac, Abuja
The solid mineral and mining industry world over has been recognized as a potential catalyst for the overall national economic growth in poorer countries and emerging economies. It plays a critical role in social human development and technological advancement, thus forming the basis of society, today and tomorrow.
In its bid to grow the sector to contribute to the nation’s national Gross Domestic Product, the Federal Government opened up so many initiatives targeting the development of the sector. One of such initiatives was the signing of memorandum of understanding between the federal and Nasarawa State governments for the citing of the Solid Minerals Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (SOMMEDI) in the state.
As a policy continuity strategy, the new governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule has said his focus would include majorly the development of solid minerals potential of the state. To this end, he promised to continue with the existing collaboration between the government and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to develop the Solid Minerals Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (SOMMEDI) located in the state.
He restated his pledge in this direction when he received the executive vice chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna who paid him a courtesy visit. He said the solid minerals potential of his state was enormous and therefore the attention of the new administration would not shift from its development and investment.
Nasarawa State is endowed with solid minerals and other natural resources. This status presented a great opportunity for the government to improve effectively on the socio-economic lives of the people and thereby further lifting many citizens of the state out of poverty.
During his parley with NASENI boss, Sule assured he would continue full development of SOMMEDI to maturity and investment in the mining sector of the state as a matter of priority. He said his government would immediately complete the landscaping project and provide road networks for the entire 20-hectare permanent site of the institute in order to fast-track the development of the various mining process facilities as contained in SOMMEDI plan.
According to the governor, the new administration will also collaborate with NASENI to deploy the agency’s solar power capacity for the supply of electricity to the state’s general hospitals and street lights in rural areas, towns and cities within the state.
The NASENI boss explained that SOMMEDI was established amongst other things to provide capacity building and enhancement, skill acquisition, research and development in the area of solid minerals development and processing, solid minerals machinery and equipment design, development and production. This will generally guarantee value addition and create chain of businesses in the sector. The institute also was set up to provide consultancy services, chemical analysis of minerals, exploration of mining geology, mine plan, processing, test design and many more.
To this effect, the technical know-how, manpower development, machinery to mine solid minerals, and the determined investments require attention by the government. SOMMEDI as a newly established institute of NASENI in the state is providing ready partnership to advance such requirement to the new administration, he added.
SOMMEDI is a research and development institute under NASENI, an agency of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. The institute was commissioned recently before the former governor handed over to his successor.
Haruna who thanked the governor for being visionary in his approach to continue with the good projects that were initiated by the immediate past government lamented the disappearance of crafts and technical schools from the nation’s educational system, saying it impacted negatively on industrial and manufacturing sector.
He noted with dismay that qualified artisans who provide plumbing, carpentry, building, tiling and others are now coming from neighbouring countries. He commended Governor Sule on his proposed programme to revitalize technical and vocational education in Nasarawa State.
A statement by the agency’s deputy director of information unit, Mr Segun Ayeoyenikan said the NASENI helmsman pledged the agency would do its best to support the governor in his bid to improve on the socio-economic status of the people in the state.
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