By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Minister of State for Mining and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, weekend, disclosed that there is improvement in collaboration between the Federal Government and States in the mining sector.
Ogah made this known in a statement signed by the Director, Press and Public Relations Department, Etore Thomas, where he indicated some major achievements in boosting effort of President Muhammadu Buhari, to diversify the economy through the mining sector.
The statement reads in part, “In achieving President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate of diversifying the economy, the Ministry has among other things achieved the following: Strengthened collaboration with State Governments and relevant security agencies to ensure security and safety of mining areas; Introduce incentives to improve the investment climate for mining activities.
“Efforts are being made to stamp out illegal mining and formalizing artisanal and small-scale mining activities across the country; Collaboration with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths.
“The optimization of revenue from the mining sector: The revenue contribution of the mineral sector has been very low due several factors. We have evaluated these issues and have taken some policy actions including the new export guidelines etc to address the causes of low revenue.”
According to the Minister, “Arising from the above vision of Mr. President, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has initiated the following programmes/interventions: Federal Government direct Intervention Fund under the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) was designed to take advantage of the under-explored metallogenic belts.
“This is aimed at generating geoscience data capable of spurring investments into the sector. The project is looking at commodities such as Gold, lead, zinc, tantalite, lithium, Iron Ore, Nickel etc.
“Downstream policy: The downstream policy of the Ministry is an effort to ensure that mineral ores are not exported out of Nigeria without value addition.
“We are currently developing Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining Clusters in six Geopolitical zones (Kano for North-west, Bauchi for North-East, Kogi for North – Central, Ebonyi for South – East, Cross River for South – South and Oyo for South-West) of the country to harness ASM mine produce and processed them at the cluster centers.
“Streamlining of processes for efficiency and transparency: We have upgraded and automated our mineral title administration system, to enable online application, in processing of mineral titles, and we have established six zonal offices in each geo-political zone of the country.”