The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Chairman DICON Board, Mrs Naratu Batagarawa reiterated that the policy of local content aimed at promoting indigenous technology circumscribed by value chair should always be placed at the front burner in the process of signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) and its foreign partners.
The Chairman stated this while addressing members of the Board during the 102nd DICON Board meeting at DICON Headquarters in Kaduna. According to her, assembling of finished products in the country should not be the Corporation’s main effort but rather emphasis should be placed on local content, stressing that pseudo economic growth should be discouraged because the nation is in dare need of solid productive base in the nation’s bid to collaborate with other Defence Related Industries.
Mrs. Batagarawa expressed satisfaction with the Director-General, Maj Gen Bamidele Ogunkale’s impressive record in repositioning the Corporation to a greater height adding that the current production activities in DICON meant much to MOD. She further stated that local production currently doing well should be encouraged, stressing that what we produce locally must not be part of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed with foreign defence related industries. “Our focus to establish Military Industrial Complex (MIC) aimed at taking care of all ordnance requirements of the Nigerian Armed Forces in accordance with President Mohammed Buhari’s directive is sacrosanct. This cannot be done without placing special emphasis on indigenous technology, she said”. The Chairman also stressed on the fact that no foreign or local Defence Related Industries could penetrate the Nigeria huge market without passing through DICON. She noted that the existing huge market in Nigeria ought to be DICON unique selling proposition cum bargaining power.
Harping still on some projects which have a direct impact on production the Chairman who was visibly elated stated that the world class laboratory recently upgraded at DICON R&D Centre, the 50 bedroom hostel for proposed DICON Institute of Technology and the DG Guest House were no doubt gold mine that would turn the fortune of DICON around. Earlier, during his remarks, the DG DICON, Maj Gen Ogunkale gave a detailed brief about the progress report in the Corporation between the last Board meeting held at the last quarter of 2018 and the recent one slated for the first quarter.
The DG who was deeply appreciative noted that he rode on the experiences of the Board members to move DICON forward, adding they were part of the success stories currently emanating from the Corporation. He said the Corporation went into full blast production of 7.62 x 39mm ammunition last year and was able to supply the Nigerian Army about 5 million round while Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) was also supplied with ballistic vests and other ordinance requirements.
He, however, noted with a sense of satisfaction that the Corporation under his leadership had focused on the welfare of the staff in line with an axiom of a goose that lay the golden egg by embarking on massive construction of befitting accommodation for the staff as well as renovation of old accommodation in the current year. The DG further disclosed that the massive project of 50-bed room accommodation for the proposed DICON Institute of Technology was near completion aimed at meeting one of the conditions for the accreditation by the Nigerian Board of Technical Education (NBTE) which according to him also have the capacity of generating revenue for DICON.
He also listed the material and Chemical testing laboratories nearing completion at DICON Research and Development Centre which had been rated as one of the best in Africa as one of the Corporation’s management team’s achievement under his focused leadership.
He also said the DG Guest House had been remodeled to international standard to meet the current envisage status of the premier industry aimed at boosting its image before its foreign and local partners as well as generating revenue. “The welfare of DICON staff is directly proportional to their industrial output hence I have placed keen interest on the staff welfare which has been deliberately structured in my pledge enunciated as soon as I assumed office and I have been guided by it”.