The Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said on Tuesday in Abuja that the Federal Government had approved the release N30 billion intervention fund for solid minerals development.
Fayemi disclosed this at the fifth Extractive Industries (EITEI) Conference held by CSR-in-Action.
The theme of the event was: “Revisiting the Nigerian Economy beyond Oil: Prospects for a thriving Export-Driving Extractive Sector.’’
The Minister, represented by Prof. Okey Onyejekwu, his Senior Special Adviser, said the fund would be used for geosciences data generation, improve mines-field security and monitoring.
According to him, this is in line with the enforcement of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007.
He explained that the ministry was partnering International Development Partners through AFDB, the World Bank, UNDP, UNIDO and donor agencies such as DFID, and Ford Foundation to ensure development of the sector.
He said that the ministry had formulated a new roadmap for the sector since his appointment one year ago.
According to him, there has been an improved funding for the sector through activation of the 0.5 per cent mining sector component of Natural Resources Development Fund (NRDF).
The Minister promised to ensure the nation’s development partners are engaged to implement MoUs, especially those on geosciences data generation, integration, storage and dissemination.
He said government would ensure there was improved revenue generation and collection through identification and plugging of leakages.
He said the ministry would target five per cent contribution to the GDP by the year 2020 as against the current 0.34 per cent.
He said the current works on the standard gauge rail line from Warri to Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and Nigeria Iron Ore Mining Company Limited, Itakpe, were key to Nigeria‘s industrialisation.
According to him, the resolution of litigation and conclusion of final stages of mediation meant that Ajaokuta Steel Plant would soon be freed of encumbrances and government would give it to a competent investor.
Earlier, Waziri Adio, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI) said Nigeria’s problem was not its dependence on oil but the leaders refused to save for the rainy days.
According to him, Nigeria’s leadershp in the oil boom era failed to invest in other sectors like petrochemical which would have helped to diversify the economy.
The ministry had also revoked non-performing mineral titles in line with the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, to make the area financially and technically viable for investors.
“If the nation should explore the economic recession well, diversify to solid minerals and do not make the same mistakes it made in oil sector, our economy will grow’,’ he said.