*as Solid Mineral gets $150 from World Bank for mining
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Three Ministers on Wednesday met with President Muhammadu Buhari and briefed him on the activities of the their respective ministries
The ministers included Kayode Fayemi (Mining and Solid Minerals); Usani Usani (Niger Delt) and Solomon Dalung (Sports and Youth Development).
Speaking to State House correspondents after the close door meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja Fayemi said he briefed the president on a wide range of issues in his ministry.
The issues included the $150million approved by World Bank, the illegal mining activities amongst others.
He said: “Yes I have come to brief the President about what is going on in the mining sector and to particularly inform him of the major break through we had on Friday with the world bank approving the $150million dollar request that we made to them during the meeting in washington.
“And then the activities of illegal miners, the work we are doing with regards to that, my tour around the country and the gradual improvements we are beginning to see in the sector particularly in relation to our growth, its a sector that seem to have defiled recession according to the bureau of statistics its growing while other sectors may be experiencing challenges that’s not to say that we have reached eldorado.
“It’s a journey and we are beginning to see concrete development and the President as you know also approved an intervention fund for this sector, the first of its kind in the history of the mining sector we also discussed that.”
Asked how the $150million would affect the mining industry, Fayemi said that it would assist in gathering geological data amongst others.
“Well, three things, geological data is very important to us and part of this money is going to assist with geo-logical data. It’s also going to contribute to our organizing the informal sector into a formal sector providing some access to funding and help them with technological equipment for the artisenal miners.
“It is also going to help us. There are many miners that have done extensive exploration but to move to production has been a challenge. So for those who are crossing over from exploration to exploitation and to actual mining, we believe that giving them some assistance would help boost the industry, particularly the small and medium scale players in the industry”, he said.
Reminded that there were concerns over too much borrowing, the Minister said that it was no misadventure if the country borrowed to pay salary.
“Well, if the nation is borrowing to pay salaries or to attend to recurrent expenditure, that concern might have been valid, but if we are borrowing in order to develop a sector that has a potential for exponential growth and multiplier effect on other sector particularl”, he said.
Fayemi also told Journalists that he received warm reception from the President.
“Of course the President had his usual banter we discussed around the work we are all doing in government”, he said.
Similarly, the Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs and Sports also briefed the President on the activities of their respective ministries.