The 4th annual Nigeria Raw Materials and Equipment Manufacturing EXPO (NIRAM) with the theme: Optimizing Value Chain towards Growth and competitiveness in the Manufacturing Sector, has kicked off in Lagos with the Director General of Raw Material Research & Development Council (RMRDC), Dr Hussaini Ibrahim Dikko pledging his agencys readiness to contribute its quota to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.Dikko noted that they have on display, raw materials that if tapped by manufacturers will aid in the diversification of the economy, adding that it will revert the drift of over dependency on oil.He said they are set to add higher capacity and capabilities to the sector especially in the cement sector with added value to limestones and gypsum used in cement manufacturing.In his remarks, the Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola said the Federal Government is poised towards providing transportation infrastructure to provide wider markets for manufactured goods.Represented by the Director of Highways, Mr Terna Ibe stated it has the potential of reinvigorating the economy by avoiding over reliance on oil.He reaffirmed government committed towards improving road networks all over the country, opening up new roads for men and materials to build the nation.He disclosed that his ministry has constructed 3,000 housing units across the country using local building materials.The Minister of State for Mines & Steel, Abubakar Bawa Bwari said the nations climatic condition encourage agriculture, pledging his ministrys readiness to adding value to the materials before exportation.Bwari said his ministry has the mandate to exploit raw minerals, add value enable manufactures apply them in their manufacturing process.He expressed that they expended N30 million in mineral explorations to have geosciences data that is made available to investors to enable them in their investment decisions, commending the World Bank for the grant of $150million which he said has helped them to do much more in showcasing the abundant mineral deposit in Nigeria for the manufacturing sector.Earlier in his speech, The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed said the expo is aimed at creating a platform where stakeholders in the raw materials value chain will come together to synergise, display and trade in available resources and raw materials with users of these products. He said they intend to close the information gaps and encourage local sourcing of available raw materials by manufacturing industries which is in line with the government backward integration programme.He recalled that the 3rd edition of Nigerian Manufacturing Equipment Expo impacted greatly on the Nigerian economy, he confirmed that this years edition is a continuation of the success story recorded last year. He said MAN has been given a leading role in the establishment of African Manufacturers Association (AMA), he stated that this was fallout of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF). He said the body would provide the platform for African manufacturers to collectively address the challenges confronting sustainable industrialization of Africa and trade among them.He commended the current administration commitment to engage the organized private sector through the Industrial Policy and competitiveness Council and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. Click here to read full news..