Muazu, who was represented by Mr Zachaus Ate, Director, Reform and Coordination, said this on Wednesday, at the 2nd Nigeria Metallurgical Industry Stakeholders Forum (MISF), an Engagement with the South-West Zone in Lagos.
The Forum was entitled: ‘Developing SMEs in the Metal Sector for Economic Diversification, Job Creation and National Prosperity’.
According to him, steel and other metal developments account for sustainable growth of any country.
”FG is poised now more than ever before to ensure massive development of metallurgical sector.
”This is part of the plan to diversify the nation’s economy from oil and gas.
”This it had started with the development of roadmap for the development of minerals and metals.
”There is no part of the federation that is not well endowed with one form of metal or the other.
”The Federal Government cannot do it without the stakeholders involvement,” he said.
Muazu said that if the sector was fully developed, it would create jobs for over 50, 000 people.
Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, the Lagos State Commissioner, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, said that Lagos would support the federal ministry’s readiness to initiate the development of metallurgical sector.
She said that there was need to ensure that the Small and Medium Scale Industries (SMEs) were keyed as catalyst for its growth.
Oladunjoye said that the state had continued to facilitate industrial development through its policies, projects, and programmes for SMEs.
The Commissioner who was represented by Mr Lekan Ogunbowale, said the state had invested in infrastructure, established economic zones, harmonised regulatory framework and taxation to assist SMEs growth.
Mr Victor Ihebinike, Director, Metallurgical Inspectorate & Raw Materials Development Department, said the sector needed political will on the part of government to grow.
According to him, all the countries classified as third world countries that started the development of the sector the same time have all overtaken Nigeria.
He said while giving an ‘Overview of the Metal Sector in Nigeria’ that those countries pushed with doggedness to make their metallurgical sector workable.
Ihebinike said that what the nation needed now was to be committed, removed corruption and self-centredness that had not allowed the sector to move forward.
He said that the ministry would continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the sector became viable and contributed more to the Gross Domestic Products.
Prof. Ibrahim Magudu, the Chairman, Metallurgical Operators Association of Nigeria (MOAN) said the Forum was an indication that the federal government had realised the importance of the sector in nation development.
He said that SMEs should be given the necessary support to drive the sector.
Magudu said that MOAN was ready to help the government champion the course of developing the sector.