The federal government is set to encourage serious local investors and producers of high quality marble and granite products, Abubakar Bwari, minister of state for mines and steel development, has said.
Bwari disclosed this on Tuesday at OFL Fujian Stones Marble and Dimension Stones factory in Mararaba, Nasarawa state, during the nationwide tour of mining sites and host communities.
Bwari said government was not only impressed with the high quality of the company’s products but also its capacity to contribute to a significant reduction of the country’s importation of about four to five million square meters of granite products annually.
He said any organisation that had demonstrated the kind of progress witnessed at the company would be encouraged through the facilities that would be available for sector players’ access.
“We have been giving all our local investors moral support, we want to start giving them financial support, to enable them increase their capacity and productivity. This is a good example. We can attest to the significant progress this company has made since our first visit last year,” he said.
“Many of such serious investors would benefit from the intervention fund and the world bank loan, once they apply and meet all requirements. Through this we hope to bridge the importation gap and work towards self sufficiency.”
The minister also urged the company to ensure that its Nigerian workers were well trained and positioned to become experts in the field, thereby reducing overdependence on expatriates.
Makoji Aduku, the managing director/CEO of Fujian Stones, attributed the success of the company to the enabling environment created by the ministry of mines and steel development.
He also commended the sincerity of the company’s Chinese partners who brought in state-of-the-art technology and machinery, and a well trained workforce, which he said could replace the expatriates in the near future.
He added that the company is investing on its indigenous workforce to ensure knowledge transfer which would also aid their future expansion plans.
Aduku lauded the present Buy-Made-in-Nigeria campaign of the federal government, which according to him has also helped to boost patronage of locally produced dimension and industrial stones.