The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan facilitates the removal of impediments to investment with the metals and solid minerals sector in Nigeria
The mining sector is a strong propeller for the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, has declared.
Opening the 2nd annual Northern Nigeria Solid Minerals fair and workshop in Minna, Niger state, the Minister said the ERGP has facilitated the removal of impediments to investment with the metals and solid minerals sector receiving priority attention as a catalyst for attracting private sector funds to the economy.
“The Minerals Sector provided 24 of the 70 projects including eight 5-star projects that require zero public investment”, the minister disclosed even as he hinted that the projects are expected to facilitate private sector investment worth $3.32 billion and create 238,000 jobs.
The minister listed the success of the ERGP as the designation of three minerals – gold, lead-zinc ore and tin as quick win commodities, the issuance of a gold refinery licence to an indigenous company and the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the gold refinery plant in Mowe last Thursday.
He also noted that challenges hindering commercial exploitation of the minerals are being removed while a new export policy has been developed to remove hurdles associated with export permits and licencing.
“A Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative driven by the Solid Minerals development Fund is about to be launched as part of the successes of the ERGP Focus Lab,” the minister said to a loud applause by small scale miners who have severally sought financial assistance from the government.
Represented by Umar Hassan, the minister highlighted achievements of his ministry, including increased revenue to government coffers, job and wealth creation and the acquisition of gold by the Central Bank of Nigeria to stabilize the nation’s currency.
He said that harnessing Nigeria’s vast solid minerals in Nigeria would increase government revenue and GDP and advised stakeholders to tap emerging opportunities. Specifically, he urged state governments to develop requisite infrastructure that will attract investors.
The minister described the Nigerian mining sector as an investment haven and stated that the State Mineral Resources Environment Management Committee is saddled with the responsibility, creating the favorable environment by assisting investors and ensuring cordial relationship between host communities and the government.
Earlier, Ibrahim Panti, Niger State Commissioner overseeing the ministry of mineral resources, said the theme of the fair: “The Mines and Minerals Sector as a Key Player in Economic Recovery and Growth Plan” reflects the on-going national focus on economic diversification with emphasis on the solid minerals sector.
He disclosed that the three-day event was designed as a platform to promote best practice methods in harnessing solid mineral deposits and minimizing inherent health hazards to individual miners and host communities.
“The workshop and fair is also an opportunity for miners to learn the benefits of cooperatives, safer mining process, equipment leasing and financial support from government for improved productivity and profitability,” he said in a speech read by the Permanent secretary, Dr. James Kolo.
He disclosed that the Niger State Government has taken over the safer mining training site at Madaka, Rafi Local Government, which recently witnessed lead poisoning among artisanal miners.
“This gathering presents us with the opportunity to clearly identify our collective and individual contributions and achievements toward curbing environmental degradation and unhealthy practices that characterize illegal mining in many local communities”, he noted.
The forum attracted participation from stakeholders in the mining sector including the Bank of Industry, Julius Berger, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Standards Organization of Nigeria, mining cooperatives and artisanal miners.
– Dec. 15, 2018 @ 16:32 GMT |