The Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) and the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC) on Tuesday in Kaduna signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to boost research and local production of military equipment.
The Director-General of DICON, Maj.-Gen Victor Ezugwu, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order Five had tasked all military departments and agencies to promote local content in the production of military equipment.
Ezugwu said that by looking inward to tapping into the abundance of human and natural resources in Nigeria, DICON had keyed into the Executive Order.
“We have visited NMDC and we have seen the capabilities in them towards helping us to achieve Mr President’s order. We spend so much on the importation of raw materials”, he said.
According to Ezugwu, the bottom line of the MoU was that it would give DICON the Nigerian version of all the raw materials and this he noted would help in reducing imports.
“The MoU will make us offer more to our country and our resources will stay within the country”, he said.
According to the DICON boss, the cost per unit of EZUGWU MRAP is N71 million, noting that the imported version would cost between N250 million and N500 million.
“Using this as a basis, you can see that because of the local content, the price had reduced and with N200 million, you can get three of the equipment,’’ he said.
He said DICON was producing with 70 per cent local content while the human resources were 100 per cent local”, he said.
“Everything you see on MRAP is done by Nigerians except the engine, tyres and parts of the suspension”, Ezugwu said.
Earlier, the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the NMDC, Prof. Linus Asuquo, said Nigeria was now looking at indigenous materials for everything needed because it could not continue being a consuming country.
“We need manufacturing in order to make progress and that is the purpose of our coming to DICON”, he said.
“We are very impressed with what we saw, using indigenous materials to achieve so much is a great achievement for our country”, he added.
Asuquo pledged that the NMDC would do more on research and development to bring out indigenous materials for DICON so it would not continue to depend on China or any other country.
“By doing this, it means there would be a lot of employment and revenue opportunities for the country”, he said.
“The time has come for us to move forward as we saw in the man in charge of DICON who has been able to do a lot in just one year”, Asuquo said.
He noted that the first thing was to engage in the exploration of minerals, mining and processing which was the key competence of his centre.
“We are processing the metal from the ore, we have discovered about 44 minerals in the country now”, he said.
He called for a change in orientation, which according to him, would drive the economy to a greater height and provide opportunities for the upcoming generations.
“We should pay attention to research and development, we know of a country that budgeted 4.3 per cent of its GDP for research and development”, he said.
“With the over 44 mineral resources in Nigeria, there is need for more budgetary allocation in research and development in order to improve indigenous production” Asuquo said.