BY INNEH BARTH, Asaba
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, has said that the Federal Government has commenced the establishment of mineral processing clusters across the six geo-political zones of the country.
The Minister, who was in Delta State on a two-day working visit, made the disclosure while fielding questions from journalists shortly after a facility tour of a private steel company in Issele-Azagba, near Asaba, the state capital.
He equally gave the assurance that the Federal Government was putting machinery in motion to re-activate the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Complex in Kogi State.
Dr. Ogah said President Muhammadu Buhari, upon assumption of office, approved the reactivation of the steel company, adding that the Federal Government has already opened discussion with the Russia government on the cost implication with a view to revitalise the company.
Ogah, who held a stakeholders’ meeting with industry players, had also visited Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien.
According to him, some expertriates were being expected “to come and do verification of the plan in readiness for the completion.
“So, we are hopeful that under President Buhari, a lot of things will come alive. He has been completing abandoned projects in order to provide the needed infrastructure which is the way to go. Any country without infrastructure can never grow.”
Also, fielding questions from journalists, Okowa said he was pleased with the minister’s visit, and that there was need for a strong collaboration between the Federal Government, the states and the private sector to develop the solid minerals sector.
Okowa noted that if the sector was developed, states and Federal Government would have less revenue challenges as they currently depend on crude oil alone to develop the country.
“This is imperative because there is an attempt by the Federal Government to have a structured approach to mining development rather than allowing it to be the way it was in the past years,” Okowa said.