By Musa Adamu
The ministry of Solid Minerals and Steel Development has reacted to the allegations that it spent N700 million in setting up a website, saying it had no reason to commit public resources to projects that would not advance the cause of repositioning the sector.
Reacting on behalf of the ministry, the Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Abbas, clarified that what it acquired with the sum was not just a website, but an integrated IT infrastructure which comprises two Data Centres, an off-site recovery centre, civil and environmental works on the Centres.
He said the sum also include the cost of running the Centres till end the of first quarter 2018 and training of over 225 officials locally and internationally.
He further clarified that given that the sum was above the approval limit of the ministry, approval was sought and gotten approval from the Federal Executive Council.
He said: “In the course of the project, we have emphasised the need for stakeholders’ interface, which included a facility inspection tour for reporters and journalists who cover the sector.”
He therefore, deacribed disingenuous for anyone to reinvent and reduce all of these into an expenditure on a website.
Describing the progame as being in tune with the Roadmap of the ministry, he noted that “These assets form critical pillars of our agenda to reform the mining and minerals sector, particularly as a key step towards our vision to lead the sector to shared mining prosperity where we make significant contributions to GDP in the country.
“In realising aspects of this project as a turnkey solution, we have been careful to follow all laid down processes. Since the cost of implementing the project is above ministerial limits, we sought and obtained the concurrence of the Federal Executive Council after a detailed presentation in January 2017.
He said the infrastructure would be used for feasibility assessment, needs analyses and re-engineering of the IT processes within the ministry, departments and agencies.
He also informed that it includes two data centres and covering civil and environmental works.
Other tasks to be undertaken by the program, according to him, is to serve as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and electronic document management system (eDMS), basic and advanced IT (ERP & eDMS) and GIS training programmes for 200 staff members of the ministry and its agencies among others.
“The import of this assessment, in light of the World Bank’s Report on the improved status of our country towards ease of doing business, cannot be far-fetched. Ours is a modest effort to consolidate the overall efforts of the Federal Government at increasing opportunities in other sectors of the economy.
“We have done repeated due diligence to ensure that the implementation of the project does not only meet expected design but also fits into globally recognised systems and further help us to place our jurisdiction on the mining map. A phased approach has been adopted, with incremental deliverables which should be fully completed by end of first quarter of 2018.”