The Federal Government has denied reports stating that it spent N700 million on setting up the Solid Minerals Development website that was inaugurated last week.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Muhammed Abbas stated that the money was spent on infrastructure, human capital, civil works and not a website.
Mr Abbas stated: “The attention of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has been drawn to news making the rounds, especially on the social media that the ministry spent the sum of N700 million creating a website for itself. The ministry considers it incumbent to react swiftly to this misrepresentation and to set the records straight.
“It is important for clarity to state that what the ministry has acquired with the said sum of money is an integrated IT infrastructure which comprises two data centres, an off-site recovery centre, civil and environmental works on the centres, running of the centres till end of first quarter 2018, training of over 225 officials locally and internationally among other 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.
“When, last Thursday, 9th November 2017, our ministers led other officials of the ministry and sectoral stakeholders to unveil the IT Integrated Automation & Interactive Solid Minerals Portal (IAISMP), we were really fulfilling one of the short-term pledges listed in our roadmap. These assets form critical pillars of our agenda to reform the mining and minerals sector, particularly as a key step towards our vision to lead the sector to shared mining prosperity where we make significant contributions to GDP in the country.
“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 cause of repositioning our sector and we believe that we did everything to intimate the general public about our activities in this respect.”