Abuja - Prof. Mariatu Tunuche, a delegate representing North Central at the national conference on Thursday in Abuja called for the development of the country’s steel sector.
Tunuche, a professor of political science, Kogi State University, made the call, while analysing President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech delivered at the inauguration of the national confab on March 17.
“Having spent over five billion dollars on the Ajaokuta steel plant, the past government left the complex to foreigners who looted the installations at the steel plant.”
“Experts have submitted that the developing of the steel industry will among others automatically translate to the development of infrastructure in the country.”
“If government can spend that kind of money, then why not take on the development of this strategic industry,” Tunuche said.
She also urged the president to use his executive power to confer legitimacy on the report of conference rather than waiting for the National Assembly to do so.
Also contributing, Amb. Ibrahim Sule, representing the North East, called for improvement in infrastructure and reduction in the cost of running government in the country.
“There is a lot of infrastructure demand in this country and a situation where over 70 per cent of the budget goes on recurrent expenditure is counterproductive,” Sule said.
He described the cost of running government as “enormous”.
“The national budget that was passed on Wednesday shows that recurrent expenditure far exceeds the capital expenditure.”
“I don’t think that a very serious nation will continue in this manner, particularly Nigeria that has deficiency in terms of infrastructure, transportation and others.”
Prof. Nsongurua Udombana, a delegate representing Akwa Ibom, said that the problem of Nigeria was not lack of resources but the inability to channel them correctly.
Udombana said that the country, with its enormous resources only shared it out to the three tiers of government on monthly basis.
“What I am holding here is a toothpick and the label shows that it is imported from China; Nigeria today is importing toothpick even though it has bamboo all over the country.”
“Our industries have collapsed, textile industries, Dunlop and other tyre industries have also closed down and we are complaining about the challenges we are facing in the country.”
“Where are the industries and factories, where our children are going to work when they graduate from schools?” he added.
Udombana also stressed the need to improve the country’s power supply to boost industralisation.