By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
As the federal government reiterates its commitment to mining development, the minister of mines and steel development, Dr Kayode Fayemi has said the sector has surpassed the entire revenue generated in 2016 with over N3.5 billion naira.
The Minister stated this when he presented the 2017 end of year ministerial briefing in Abuja Thursday, which he said “Is for the purpose of giving accounts of our stewardship over the past 12 months and sharing highlights of our plans and projections for the Nigerian Mining sector in the year 2018, within the context of our long term vision”
According to Dr Fayemi “We realize that in order to sustain the support of all stakeholders towards achieving our objectives, there is the need to provide periodic feedback on our work, and be as inclusive as possible in the governance of the sector.
He said “Consolidating on our feat of achieving a 300% increase in revenue (royalties and fees) between 2015 and 2016, we steadily progressed in 2017 and as at November of this year, the sector had already surpassed the entire revenue of about N2Billion generated for the whole of 2016, with over N3.5 Billion naira contributed to the federation account so far.
“Consistently in 2017, the Mining sector featured in the story of our journey to economic recovery and consolidation. For example, in reporting the GDP figures for second quarter 2017, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics indicated that the economy grew by 0.55%, largely attributed to improved performance of not only the Oil and Gas sector, but other economic activities like mining. The Mining sector grew by 2.24% in that quarter”
While noting they still had a long way to go, the Minister said “We can confidently say that we are well ‘On the Road to Shared Mining Prosperity’ in Nigeria”
Giving a summary of the year 2017, Dr Fayemi said “The year 2017 has been very eventful. Our exertions were centered on advancing the reforms begun in 2016, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to us to reposition the mining sector as a frontier of this administration’s economic diversification agenda. Aligned with the ‘Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry’ approved in August 2016, our aspiration remains to “build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market for our minerals and ores”.
He assured that “Our focus remains to improve the sector’s contribution to GDP, and to create jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians
Dr Fayemi said “We excitedly welcomed the news that Nigeria moved up an unprecedented 24 steps in the World Bank’s Ease-of-Doing-Business ranking, and was adjudged one of the 10 top reforming economies. Reforms in the sector and efforts to make the Nigerian jurisdiction more attractive to investors impacted on Nigeria’s ranking in perception indices in the ‘World Risk Report’, published by the Mining Journal, which indicates that Nigeria has made remarkable improvements in both hard risk and perceived risk factors. The Nigerian Mining Jurisdiction is now considered to have a better investment risk profile than several other leading jurisdictions, and among the best in Africa.
Others he said include “Improved Sector Governance, significant investments in training, tools and logistics in order to facilitate the effective discharge of mines inspectorate services, and other regulatory duties of the technical departments of the Ministry as well as achieving best practice in mineral sector governance through the conception of a centralized GIS Web portal with supporting ICT Infrastructure and the automation of ministry services among several others.
Recalling that the sector had unprecedented support from key enablers in 2017 “Worthy of note is the support the ministry secured through the Federal Government from the World Bank for $150mn for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MSSED or MinDiver) program” he said
He added that in collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BOI), the SMDF had launched a N5Billion fund to provide single digit interest loans to mining projects in Nigeria, partially accessed the N30 Billion approved for the sector from the Natural Resources Intervention Fund for the promotion of the exploration of new minerals and to strengthen the regulatory capacity of the Ministry, also adding that Plans are underway to assemble a $600M investment fund for the sector, working with entities such as the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and others.
“Our reforms which we advanced in 2017 have been targeted at repositioning and de-risking the sector. We are extremely proud of our contributions to the economic recovery we are now witnessing in the country and are geared to do more in 2018 to contribute to building a strong and diversified economy., Gold Exchange Programme” he said
“Notably, one of the key projects we are embarking upon in 2018, in partnership with some state governments and the private sector is a Gold Purchase scheme. Geological Prospectivity. Also, in 2018, our ministry would undertake extensive Electromagnetic Airborne Geophysical Survey of promising parts of the country”