The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan (Kogi Central), on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to allow one hundred percent local manufacturing of military kits to generate revenue for the country.

This comes after a year in which the Infrastructure Concessions Regulatory Commission (ICRC) hinted that the country would begin local production of uniforms for its military and paramilitary personnel from January 2023.

Speaking at the interactive session on the 2024 budget between the Defense Committee and the Senate Defense Headquarters, Senator Natasha proposed the use of local industries to manufacture uniforms for the country's military personnel.

“I'm analyzing your budget. Maybe I missed the part about providing police officers with uniforms; Navy, Air Force and Army. My question is: where do you get the uniforms? Are they produced locally or imported? Please draw my attention to the budgetary provision for this, how much is being budgeted and whether they are one hundred percent manufactured in Nigeria.

“I am speaking as chair of the Local Content Committee. It is my greatest desire to see that our local industries are being utilized in the manufacture of boots and uniforms,” the Kogi lawmaker noted.

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She urged the Federal Government to locate manufacturing industries in Kogi Central, adding that the Ebiras are well known for their tailoring skills, which in turn will help sustain local employment and also generate revenue for the country in the long term.

Senator Natasha also recommended the location of a barracks in Kogi Central to improve the security situation in and around the region.

In response, the Minister of Defense, Abubakar Badaru, said the budgetary provision for uniforms is contained in the armed forces budget, adding that there is a plan underway to revamp DICON, an indigenous industry that will employ about 1,500 people to produce uniforms military and boots.

There are already local companies in Nigeria that produce boots, helmets and some protective equipment. Last month the Permanent Secretary and I visited one of the companies and they are doing well, I can share the address and I will encourage you to also visit the colonies to see the level of work they are doing there,” he added.

GWG.ng recalled that President Bola Tinubu recently assented to the Defense Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) Bill, 2023. The new law empowers the Defense Industries Corporation of Nigeria to operate, maintain and control subsidiaries and munitions factories to manufacture, store, and dispose of ordnance and auxiliary supplies and materials.

The DICON Act also established the Defense Industry Technology, Research and Development Institute (DITRDI) to create an elaborate, scientific and research-based technological base, for Nigeria's defense industry, through the harnessing of combined and multidisciplinary research from various military research institutes for application. which leads to the commercialization and development of new military technologies and capabilities in Nigeria.

In September, the President approved a billion-dollar agreement with India to modernize DICON facilities and increase its local production of defense equipment to 40% (against the 100% local production proposed by Senator Natasha) by 2027 .
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