The Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu. Sampson. Ogah, has stressed that the development of the metal industry is panacea to the industrialisation and economic development of Nigeria.

The Minister stated this in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Stakeholders’ Forum (MISF) organised by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to engage with metallurgical operators in the South East Geopolitical Zone held on Monday, December 9, 2019 in Owerri, Imo State.

The Minister said the forum with the theme: “Building Local Capacities for the Development of the Nigerian Metals Sector,” was meant to create a platform for the stakeholders to chart a way forward for the sector in line with Government’s Agenda on the diversification of the economy, jobs and wealth creation.

“There is need for both government and investors to work together to harness the potentials available in the sector. There are lot of opportunities in the sector such as, smelting and refining, foundry, rolling mills etc, that can be leveraged on to develop the economy,” he emphasised.

While outlining some of the challenges that the sector has faced over time, such as lack of commitment of past governments, he said the present government has demonstrated the enough political will to revive the metal industry

He stated that Government through the Ministry has recorded landmark achievements in restructuring the sector by implementing policies such as launching of the Ministry’s approved Roadmap for the development of the Minerals and Metals Sector, working out modalities to bring on stream Ajaokuta Steel Company, reviving the Metallurgical Training Institutes, among others.

Ogah expressed optimism that the outcomes of deliberation of the forum will further boost efforts of government to reposition the sector towards meeting the developmental needs of the nation.

The Minister urged the participants to deliberate on the formation of Metallurgical Operators Association of Nigeria (MOAN) in the South East zone that would felicitate regular interface between government and the industry’s stakeholders in the zone with a view to harnessing the abundant skills for economic development.

The Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, in his address to declare the forum open, stated that no country can develop industrially without developing its metal industry and requisite skills of the people to drive its metallurgical industries.

He said his government will support Federal Government initiatives to reposition the Minerals and Metals Sector; and urged the participants to deliberate extensively towards proffering solutions to the challenges being faced by the metal operators in the South East and the entire nation.

The event which was well graced by operators of metal industries from the five states in South-East and other dignitaries, featured paper presentations by renowned seasoned scholars and captains of industries.