By Naomi Uzor
THE Bank of Industry (BoI), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) are among corporate giants that have shown interest in participating in the Second Northern Nigeria Solid Minerals Fair and Workshop holding from 13 to 15 December at the Legbo Kutigi International Conference Center, Minna, Niger State.
In a statement by the organisers, the specialised trade fair will now hold yearly following the success of the maiden edition held in May, last year at the Kaduna International Trade Fair Ground. The theme of this year’s expo is: “The Mines and Mineral Sector as a Key Player in Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.” It is jointly organised by the Niger State Government, the Niger Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and Proedge Communication.
The consultant to the project, Mr. Tajudeen Abdulkareem, disclosed that the three day event will be attended by the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Buhari; the President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, managers of all chambers of commerce and other key industry players from all the 19 Northern States in Nigeria.
He said this year’s expo is designed to register a great impact by exposing the massive job creation potentials available to State and Local Governments through small scale mining as well as avenues for wealth creation among artisanal and small scale miners across the region.
“In the last three years, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has rolled out several regulatory frameworks and investment friendly policies. It is imperative that states and local governments pick up the gauntlet, exploring avenues to create jobs and enhance wealth through the creation of special purpose vehicles or engage in joint ventures in exploiting the vast mineral deposits in their domain.
“Beside massive job creation through small scale and artisanal mining, states governments can earn more money from the mines by entering into partnership with foreign concerns. Moreover, there is a huge tax income from mining and 13 per cent derivation which can swell the purse of states in proportion to the amount of legal mining business conducted in the preceding year,” he said.
He disclosed that the objectives of the expo is showcasing Nigeria’s solid minerals sector as a Catalyst for Diversifying the Nation’s Economy,
Exploring Alternative Sources of Revenue for the States, Creating Job Opportunities Through Value Addition And Capacity Building Of Prospective Miners, Processors, Investors And Sundry Stakeholders
Creating Awareness on Best Practices in the World, Application of Technology and Inherent Environmental Hazards,
Promotion of Local and Foreign Investment in Nigerian Mining Industry and Enabling Collaborations amongst Various Tiers of Government.
“The event is expected to attract participation by all the 19 states in Northern Nigeria, the FCT and the respective Chambers of Commerce. The fair, among other benefits is expected to Provide a platform for best practice methods in harnessing solid mineral deposits and minimizing inherent health hazards to individuals and communities, Energize states and local governments to organize and register artisanal miners operating in their domain in the bid to ensure safer mining environment and improve revenue, Curb environmental degradation and unhealthy practices that characterize illegal mining in many local communities’ activities,
Devise methods to monitor, guide and support miners for optimal job creation and revenue enhancement”
“Provide opportunity for miners to learn the benefits of co-operatives, safer mining processes, equipment leasing and financial support from sundry government agencies for improved productivity and profitability and enable policy makers to appreciate the National Mining policy framework on efficient management of the mines and minerals sector which include planning, coordination, allocation, assignment, registration, monitoring and use of scarce national resources in the mining sector while promoting and safeguarding national interest” he stated.