Abuj – The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi’s term has witnessed the revival of the mining sector from its low financial returns into the Federation Account within two years.
Mr Yinka Oyebode, the Special Adviser on Media to the minister made this known on Tuesday in Abuja as the country marks 2019 Democracy Day.
Oyebode said over the years, the sector had only contributed little into the federation account, adding that previously, the government agencies responsible for the management of the sector had not been able to contribute meaningfully to revive the sector.
He said the sector in 2015 generated just N700 million, which was grossly inadequate compared to its enormous minerals and other assets under its purview.
“But when Dr Kayode Fayemi assumed office with his Minister of State, Alhaji Abubakar Bwari in November 2015, they both set an agenda on how to improve the ministry to meet President Muhammadu Buhari diversification plan.
“Fayemi and Bwari came up with a robust Roadmap to serve as working tool and progress trajectory to ensure the sector contributes meaningfully to the economy,’’ he said.
“The ministry’s aspiration through the roadmap remained to build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market for Nigeria minerals and ores,’’ he said.
Oyebode said that the roadmap was produced through a robust process of consultations and stakeholders engagements.
He said the two ministers targeted three areas such as funding, capacity building and lack of bankable mineral data as major issues to be addressed to move the sector forward.
On funding, he said the ministry was able to access N30 billion mining intervention fund from the Natural Resource Fund, for the first in the history of the sector.
He said the fund was partly to focus on exploration, formalisation of artsanal miners, and to provide access to funding for genuine miners.
Oyebode said the ministry also secured support of 150 million dollars from the World Bank for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MSSED or MinDiver) programme.
According to him, the fund also helped to bring back on stream previous abandoned mining projects like tin ore, iron ore, coal, gold and lead-zinc.
On capacity building, he said the ministry was able to relate with international agencies and other mining nations such as China, Canada, South Africa, Britain, Australia to train its staff and some mining operators.
He said the Miners Association of Nigeria and Women in Mining were also trained at the local level through the intervention of the ministry for them to contributed meaningfully to the development of the sector.
“The ministry collaborated with big mining nations to train its staff on how to improve the sector; some mining experts from mining countries also came to Nigeria to train the ministry staff on geological mapping.”
On lack of bankable mineral data, he said the issue was solved this year, adding that this would enable the mining investors anywhere across the world to get accurate data of minerals available in Nigeria, the quantity and locations.
He said this data was achieved through Electromagnetic Survey conducted by a German Company in January.
NAN recalls that the ministry had improved the productivity of the sector by tripling its contribution into the federation account to about N2 billion in 2016 from N700 million generated in 2015. (NAN)