The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has expressed concern over news making the rounds, especially on the social media, that it spent N700 million to create a website for the sector.
“The Ministry considers it incumbent to react swiftly to this misrepresentation and to set the records straight.”
Mohammed Abbas, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said in a statement on Sunday that what the Ministry acquired with the money was an integrated IT infrastructure comprising two Data Centres, an off-site recovery centre.
He said civil, environmental works and running of the centres till end of first quarter 2018, training of over 225 officials locally and internationally amongst others, were cost components of the entire infrastructure and programme.
”It is indeed disingenuous of anyone to reinvent and reduce all of these into an expenditure on a website ,” he said.
He said the two Ministers of the Ministry and other officials of the sector and stakeholders unveiled the IT Integrated Automation & Interactive Solid Minerals Portal (IAISMP) on November 9.
He said this was in line with the fulfilment of one of the short-term pledges listed in the sector’s roadmap, adding that the assets formed critical pillars of the agenda to reform the mining and minerals sector.
“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.
“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.
“We have no reason to commit public resources to projects that will not advance the course of repositioning our sector, we believe that we did everything to intimate the general public about our activities in this respect.”
He said the IT Integrated Automation and Interactive Solid Minerals Portal (IAISMP) project had the feasibility assessment, needs analyses and re-engineering of the IT processes in the Ministry, Departments and Agencies.
He said IAISMP had two data centres (a fully equipped on-premises centre within the Ministry and another off-site centre for recovery and real-time backup in case of emergency), also covering civil and environmental works.
Others include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution and Electronic Document Management System (eDMS) solution.
GIS training programmes for 200 staff of the Ministry and its Agencies, while 75 officials have already been trained in Abuja.
Abbas said it was important to state that acquired IT infrastructure was an enabler of serious work at repositioning the sector.
“For us, this is never an end in itself but a robust attempt to ease how the regulatory-cum-administrative systems interface with mining operators and stakeholders everywhere.”
According to him, the Ministry is ensuring that the implementation of the project does not only meet expected design but also fits into globally recognised systems to further place its jurisdiction on the mining map.
He said a phased approach had been adopted, with incremental deliverables which would be fully completed by end of first quarter of 2018.
“We want to assure all Nigerians that we do not take lightly the confidence reposed in us or in our government nor will we do anything to undermine our reputation under whatever guise.