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It was in the early 80s and with a population of nearly 180 million, and a GDP of less than $2000, the Nigerian federal government and its organized private sector (OPS) required a better deal and were keen to reing in a sliding micro and macro economyindex.

The Industrial Sector was also near comatose, plagued by myriad of issues ranging from high import duties levied on imported industrial raw materials, process equipment and components and/or low capacity utilization of local raw materials due to lack of sufficient knowledge required to convert them to industrial inputs locally.

The naira also was on a nosedive in the international currency exchange market. And like in Franz Faulkners poem, things were turning around in a widening gyre and the falcon could no longer hear the falconer. There was really anarchy in the nation’s industrial ecosystem.

The creation of the RMRDC followed the organization of conference by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the then Federal Ministry of Industry and the Nigeria Institue for social and Economic Research (NISER). The conference which was held at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) in 1983, was organized to address the dire situation on Nigeria’s raw materials development. One of the major decisions of the conference was the creation of the RMRDC.

The Council was thus established to serve the interest of the manufacturing sector by  facilitating the local sourcing of raw materials by the industries through the provision of information on raw materials sourcing, development and ututilization. Access to information on raw materials availability and processing has enabled government to formulate appropriate policies for local raw materials development.

RMRDC commenced operations on February 10th 1988 and as the 5th CEO, Professor Hussaini Doko Ibrahim has left no one in doubt about what is to be done to improve the fortunes of manufacturing in Nigeria. Without a doubt, his style of administtration is deft and informed, leaving no stones unturned in his efforts to bring down the nation’s importation figures to rock bottom and improve, on a sustainable basis, the contributions by the industrial sector to the GDP.

To this effect, the policy and objective of the Strategic Plan (2018-2021) of the Council under Professor Ibrahim has focused of the development of secondary raw materials for the industries, commercializing R&D outputs, promoting agricultural, chemical and mineral raw matrerials utilization as well as development of resource-based products in which the nation has comparative and competitive advantage. This is in view, of his passion to meet the needs of the nation’s industrial sector and reducing import of available raw materials and products. In addition, the plan promoted equipment and machinery development for value added products to discourage export of raw materials.

The goals of the Strategic Plan were to help the nation attain 50% competitiveness rating and 75% import reduction/substitution and deletion, as well as develop effective model and framework, for the Council, for commercialization of R&D results for 10 industrial raw materials and indigenous process technologies; and increasing local production, sourcing and utilization of twenty (20) secondary/intermediate raw materials.

Operating within  an environment that is ever- changing, Professor Ibrahim has confronted these changes with great skills and purposefulness, coming up with projects and programmes with utmost positive outcomes. As a deliberate response to the recession of 2016, Professor Ibrahim piloted the Council to devise and implement, alongside extanct poliicies of government, a number of programmes and ectivities that provided some of the platforms through which the nation was able to exit the economic downturn of 2016.

Professor Ibrahim is also pushing the quest for a local vaccine for the dreaded corona scourge which has so far ravaged the globe, cutting down global productivity indices by a quarter and leaving behind a morbidity level that is unparalled in history of mankind. Nigreia has been faced with the corona virus pandemic that has affected all sectors of humanity. In this regard, the DG was to shift his focus towards restructuring and realigning the Council’s institutional structre to cope with the challenge.

The year 2020 presented an immense opportunity for the Council under the astute leadership of Professor H.D. Ibrahim to align its Local Raw Materials Content Programme to the Federal Government’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme focused on utilizing the nation’s private and public industries to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the nation’s medical personnel who were at the forefront of interacting with patients who had either contacted the Covid-19 virus or required medical attention in order to militate against the spread of the virus by nipping it in the bud.

The production of the PPEs was the result of a directive from the Honourable Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, during a tour of the Council on the 17th of April, 2020. The Hon. Minister directed that the Council should collaborate with the relevant agencies and institutions to design and produce the Personal Protective Equipment for the nation’s frontline health workers and the public in the Federal Government’s drive to achieve conformity with the standards and specifications of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In continuation of his focused leadership efforts, Professor Ibrahim wasted no time in expanding the departmental structure to  12 with a target to bringing the Council’s mandate to bear on the requirements of relevant sectors of the economy through a partnership with relevant stakeholders.

Moving away from some of the achievements made by Professor H.D. Ibrahim  under the Local Content Raw Materials  Development Programme to the Council’s Technology Development Programme (TDP), the RMRDC, has achieved the establishment of its Technology Development  and Demonstration Complex at the National Air Space Research and Development Agency (NASDRA), Abuja. The complex is designed as a one stop shop for MSMEs and industrialists in search of identified or identifiable machinery/equipment for the smooth running of their production cycles.

This achievement is aimed at job creation through the local fabrication of much needed machinery/equipment and increasing the nation’s GDP through the utilization of these machinery and equipment which will equally promote an increase in the local content development of raw materials processing in the nation.

Professor Ibrahim is also taking the issue of raw materials sourcing very seriously. To support the implementation of the National Strategy on raw materials development, the DG established a Raw Materials Resource Center to provide a platform for dissemination of vital information on raw materials availability and areas of occourence in the country.

He also established, in partnership with the African University of Science and Technology (AUST),  a Raw Materials Analysis and Certification Laboratory.  Imported and local raw materials are routinely analysed to ascertain their quality and suitability for industrial use.  This service is offered by a limited number of laboratories in the country.  This Project was therefore an effort to bridge this gap.

Working harder to achieve international standardization of processes of raw materials sourcing, development and utilization, Professor Ibrahim was led to establish a Raw Materials ISO Training Centre (TC). RMRDC Training Centre (TC) was established as  part of the UNIDO National Quality Infrastructure Project (NQIP) for Nigeria. ISO 9001: 2015  is the world’s most popular and commonly used standard for Quality Management System (QMS). It seeks to enhance as well as focus on meeting customers’ satisfaction and continual improvement of products and services in line with statutory and other requirements. The ISO Training Centre is certified by SGS, Geneva Switzerland on QMS 9001:2015

With dwindling oil prices in the international market and the policy thrust of this administration, Professor Ibrahim’s zeal to diversify the economy and rescue the ailing industrial sector of the economy, also led him to initiate programmes at the Council designed to transform the country to a non-oil dependent economy and the development of the manufacturing sector of the economy into a major contributor to the GDP.

Professor Hussaini Doko Ibrahim who is in his second term as DG RMRDC hails from Doko, Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State. He was born on the 24th of September, 1962. He obtained a Bachelor of Science ( Hons. With an outstanding performance which won him the Oba of Benin prize for best final year student of the Dpartment of Textile Science & Technology, ABU Zaria, in 1984. He went further to obtain an MSc degree in Textile Science and Technology from the same university.

Professor Ibrahim bagged a PhD in Textile Science & Technology from the prestigious Leeds University, United Kingdom (UK) in 1993. He was also a visiting Senior Lecturer at FUT Minna, 2010 – 2011, and a Visiting Professor at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 2018.

Through the years, Professor Ibrahim has exhibited a clear sense of patriortism to industrialize Nigeria through local sourcing of raw materials. He dreams of a Nigeria with an energized industrial sector and a global competitive market locally made finished goods and products as well as a self-sufficient and industrialized Nigeria.  For this alone, his track record is glittering with shining successes, that are visible as they are innovative, just as the tomes in the annals of the Council, and as yarns spurn into  gold as in Kiplin’s Rumplestillskin.