Hon. Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa-Bwari has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB)-led government through the ministry is committed to ensuring that the mining sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP is raised from the 0.35% at the moment to 8.4% by 2020.
The Minister stated this Thursday in his speech to flag-off the ministry’s Integrated Exploration Project at a brief ceremony held at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The essence of the projects is to generate geoscientific data that would ensure adequate statistics that investors can rely on to invest in the sector.
The Minister said, “It can be clearly seen that Nigeria is richly endowed with different mineral types including coal, iron one, uranium, bitumen, gold, limestone, etc. However, Nigeria has not seen a commensurate development in the mining sector, primarily because of inadequate geoscience data.
“This is largely responsible for the decline in the mining sector’s contribution to our Nation’s GDP to a paltry 0.35% as compared to oil which contributes about 10% of our GDP, and 85% of our foreign exchange earnings-an unhealthy situation that makes our economy vulnerable.”
He said it is the determination of Mr President to reverse the trend that led to the economic diversification agenda anchored primarily on the mining and agriculture sectors, adding that a well developed mining sector can easily catalyse Nigeria’s industrial revolution through import substitution, while addressing the challenges of unemployment, poverty and insecurity.
“This administration is therefore determined to reposition the mining sector by increasing its contribution to the GDP from a paltry 0.35% to 8.4% by 2020 which is the target set by the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“This exploration could therefore not have come at a better time as we continue to pursue the rapid generation of world class integrated geosciences information in Green and Brown fields,” he said.
The DG, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Alex Nephew who expressed gratitude to President Buhari for approving the Natural Resources Fund as an enabler of the programme, said out of 45 entries received, the companies that scaled through the rigorous screening excercise included AG Vision, Juggernaut, Rapidlinks, DAPMAT/MECON and NSRMEA for works and geoexploration, and PHROESIS, GEOKOOL for consultancy.
He said the execution of the project is expected to span 12 calender months.
Speaking on behalf of the contractors, the MD of Sobrius Exploration and Mining Services Ltd, Rowan Van der Westhuizen thanked the government for the opportunity given to them, adding that they will ensure strict compliance with the contract terms, and execute the projects on schedule.