The Ministry of Defence, on Thursday, pledged more support and funding for the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to meet its mandate.
Alhaji Babangida Hussaini, the Permanent Secretary at the defence ministry, made the pledge during an official visit to DICON Headquarters in Kaduna.
Hussaini said that adequate funding was one of the problems DICON was facing which, in the long run, could hinder effective production and maintenance of military equipment and other hardware.
He noted that the visit was to acquaint himself with the activities of DICON and its operational capacity to sustain existing military platforms for effective productivity.
“It is important to oversee, monitor and evaluate the performance of DICON and other agencies, under the ministry, in order to see how policies could be formulated to make them more efficient.
“Over the years, importation of military equipment has drained Nigeria’s economy, With the establishment of DICON, it has made us less dependent on importation of military equipment”, Hussaini said.
He noted that the ministry would continue to support engagements and initiatives emanating from the various agencies.
He also said that while touring the DICON facilities, Nigeria was not lacking in ideas and bright minds, but harnessing and articulating the ideas to achieve the objectives was always the problem.
“This is where the ministry and departments will have roles to play, we have engaged the national assembly to see reason for adequate resources for these kinds of institutions, we can’t afford to continue importation of all our Defence and security needs.
“The employment generation opportunities I saw in the course of going round has given me hope that thousands of job opportunities can be created”,Hussaini said.
He urged the DG and his staff to improve on their endeavours and pledged to support initiatives for the development of DICON.
In his address, the Director General (DG) of DICON, Maj.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu , said Nigeria had in the past depended on importation of military equipment and hardware, but the leadership of the current Chief of Army Staff had made it unacceptable to continue relying on importation of military equipment
“The visit by the new permanent secretary of the ministry of defence, who is fortunately a local content man, would make our synergy a very good one for the development of DICON.
” The most important takeaway from the permanent Secretary’s visit is that he had pledged to urge the minister of defence that the DICON Act, now before the national assembly will be passed”, he said.
According to him, passage of the Act would open up international business space for DICON.
“Our line of products are growing, passage of the Act will enable us cover West Africa markets with our products, with this we can be self sufficient, we can’t wait to be generating enough funds for the government and for the well-being of DICON staff”, Ezugwu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the permanent secretary and his entourage also visited the Command Engineering Depot (CED) at Rigacikun where they inspected production and refurbishment of military hardware.
NAN also reports that the PS, who is also the chairman of the board of directors for DICON, also toured round the facilities and production plants at DICON. (NAN)