Nigerian govt. targets 10% GDP for solid minerals — Fayemi

Source:premiumtimesng?

The Federal Government says its target is for the solid minerals sector to account for 10 per cent of the gross domestic product, GDP, in the nearest future.

The minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, said this aspiration informed the present administration’s efforts to reposition the solid minerals sector to diversify the country’s economy and create jobs through the sector.

The minister, who said that a lot of innovations were being put in place to overcome all the encumbrances that could hinder the attainment of the aspiration, explained that the major focus of the ministry was to ensure that the sector improved its contribution to the GDP from the current 0.3 per cent.

He was speaking at the 52nd conference of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Mr. Fayemi said he was confident that the target growth was achievable, adding that the minerals industry has great opportunities for diversification, apart from linkages to the development of other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“We strongly believe that the only way minerals development can be sustainable is through economic linkages,” he said. “We shall promote the development of industrial minerals and encourage downstream linkages leading to the processing of these minerals for our local industries.

“It is expected that huge foreign exchange will be conserved through import substitution; jobs will be created; technological capacity will improve, and there shall be increase in resource rents.  We shall concentrate on developing minerals that are critical feedstock in oil and gas, agriculture,manufacturing and infrastructure.”

The mining sector, the minister pointed out, has witnessed extensive reforms since 1999, centring on the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007, adding that an improved computerized mineral title administration would ensure transparent transaction of online application to mineral titles.

He said Nigeria was again on the path to providing a transparent and workable regulatory and policy environment for a private sector- led mining, noting that the generation of geosciences data to unlock the potential of the sector has been a major challenge.

Mr. Fayemi said the present administration believes improved generation of baseline data, namely geophysical, geochemical and geological datasets were necessary to unleash the country’s tremendous geological potential.

While promising to ensure that the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency and other similar agencies in the sector were adequately funded to accomplish this goal, the minister said government was determined to ensure best practices to restore investor’s confidence in the sector.

The ministry, he said, was set to build an integrated geospatial web portal to serve as a one-stop shop data window to stakeholders for unhindered access to information on the sector.

Noting that the bulk of mining activities in the country were still being done illegally, the minister said government would accelerate the formalization of artisanal and small scale miners to ensure sustainable development of the mineral resources.

Besides, he said already 3,000 members of the National Security & Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, have been deployed as mines police towards achieving this goal, adding the Ministry was also in talks with other agencies as the Nigerian Customs to stem illicit smuggling activities at the country’s borders.

On funding, the minister said discussions were on-going with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and commercial lenders to provide financing for Nigerian miners, while commercial banks were being encouraged to set up solid minerals desk to facilitate easy access to loans.

 

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