The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in conjunction with the World Bank have commenced an advanced training for some selected staff of the Ministries, Departmental Agencies (MDAs) on Nigeria Mineral Resources Decision Support System (NMRDSS).
The week-long training which is taking place at the Digital Bridge Institute, Abuja is being coordinated by the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver); a World Bank assisted project with the main purpose of building the capacity of participants and making them focal points of NMRDSS in their various MDAs.
NMRDSS is a web -based decision support system which helps users to analyse mineral resources occurrences and mineral resources corridors developed by RMSI Private Limited from India.
Speaking at the opening session, The Project Coordinator, Mr Linus Adie, said the NMRDSS simply call Decision Support System (DSS) centralizes the collection and collation of mineral data from relevant Government Departments.
The system according to him, serves to improve decision making for the mining sector and infrastructure development planning as it integrates spatial data on mineral licenses, infrastructure, and other parameters such as population density and land use. He added that the data would facilitate analysis and prioritization of areas for socio-economic growth and development based on the availability of mineral assets in the country.
Adie stated that the DSS is fully multi-sectoral and would be useful for planning future land-use development, agriculture, transportation, oil and gas, power and overall industrial and urban development envisaged under the central corridor and other future planned corridors.
He urged the participants to attend the training sessions conscientiously, considering the enormous benefits the country stands to benefit from their knowledge. “We are doing this in the interest of the country, in the interest of the Mining sector, it is good for you, and it is good for the nation. We are very pleased to have you back; we have progressed a lot after the first training session, the DSS is online at the moment and we felt it is time to bring you back for the advanced training. DSS is a component for designing economic corridor and am sure during this training, all these systems will be exposed to you.” He said.
Speaking further on the importance of DSS, the IT Specialist for the World Bank Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project, Ezewu Kelvin Oghale stressed that DSS is not only a tool for MMSD but a tool for all the MDAs. “For instance, we are getting data from everywhere, we need to know the road networks in Nigeria, we need to know, the power grids, where they are located, we need to know the location of the airports and so on.
“When you are talking about road, you are talking about Ministry of Works, when you are talking about power grid you are talking about Ministry of Power. It is a tool for the Federal Government and for all Ministries, that is the reason we have about 11 MDAs represented at this training.”
Oghale said the first training in September 2017 was basically introduction to the application for front-end users which was basically meant to familiarise the key stakeholders with what the DSS platform is all about while the advanced training is to make the stakeholders self sufficient, self driven so that they could actually perform the activities which the application is supposed to do.
The whole idea, according to him, is for RMSI to develop the software for Nigeria but not to be responsible for its maintenance, hence the essence of the advanced training to enable Nigerians design economic corridors and basically manage the database.
He explained that the main purpose of training staff across the MDAs is to have focal points in all the Ministries, “if there is a new data set on roads that we are not aware of, the man from the Ministry of works should be able to input that data subject to verification by the system administrators. The idea of the training is that everybody works together to achieve the purpose.”
Speaking earlier on behalf of the team leader of RMSI Private Limited, Dr. Subhash Babu Ainampudi, the Technical Manager, Mr Shafique Ahmed said DSS, an initiative of Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and a World Bank assisted project is an effort to uplift the solid mineral mining sector and to create positive environment in the sector to facilitate investment opportunities, job opportunities, facilitate a lot of research and development activities in the country.
The basic contract between Nigeria and the Indian team according to Ahmed is to conduct the basic training and maintenance of the software for a period of six months which is known as maintaining self-support and hand over the project to Nigerian government.
One of the participants at the training, Mr Chukwu Emmanuel from Nigeria Mining Cadastral admitted that the first training open their minds to basic aspects of the software and how to use it to generate corridors and how to make basic decisions when you have the basic data. He believed that the second training which is more of management of the website and acquiring information which has to be uploaded on the website would be beneficial to all participants.