Dr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, said the new Mining Roadmap identified key challenges hindering the sector from significantly contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Fayemi, who was represented by the Minister of State in the ministry, said this at a three-day Nigeria Mining Week, first ever organised in the country on Tuesday in Abuja.
The theme of the week is “ Building a Competitive and Sustainable Mining Value Chain’’.
According to him, the roadmap, scheduled for public presentation on Nov. 7, has outlined strategies with timeline for tackling the observed challenges in the sector.
He said the sector had secured improved funding for the mining sector through increased budgetary allocation and intervention funds from the Natural Resources Development Fund (NRDF) and International Development Partners through the World Bank.
He said the NRDF fund would be used for the Geosciences data generation, improved minefield security, monitoring enforcement of the provisions of Nigeria Mining Act 2007 and its regulations of 2011.
He said that the funds from the International Development Partner would be used to implement Nigeria’s mineral sector to support the economic diversification project and improve on the sector’s GDP contribution.
“The fund will provide assistance to a selection of mineral exploration and mining projects to assist the development of the sector; operators are to exploit this funding opportunity to advance their mining projects.’’
According to the minister, the ministry has improved on revenue generation and also blocked revenue leakages.
“Our target for the ministry is to contribute five per cent to the GDP by 2020 as against the current 0.34 per cent; review of mineral licensing fees to discourage mineral title speculation .’’
Alhaji Sani Shehu, President, Miners Association of Nigeria, said that the event would have been organised several years earlier if past governments had demonstrated genuine commitment to economy diversification.
The programme was initiated to support the government’s efforts to rejuvenate the mining industry and make it a formidable sector in Nigeria.
The week intends to expose Nigeria’s minerals resources to the world and grow it to an international mining event, usually associated with organising countries.
Shehu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving N30 billion for the mining sector.
He urged the minister to give the management of the fund to Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) due to their mandate on economic development and non profit making.
He called urged the minister to liaise with the Minister of Aviation to facilitate the formation of a Nigerian Gemstones Showroom to be marketed at Nigeria international airports.
He urged the ministry to give priority to mining of industrial minerals to feed local industries, among others.
Shehu also called for six months moratorium to be declared for owners of minerals to pay necessary fees to the government after which such privilege should be closed.
The event brought together some key stakeholders in the mining industry, including government officials, mining operators, bankers, engineers and foreigners.
The first Nigeria mining week is a four day event of conferencing, workshops, exhibitions, press briefings, match-making among others.
The association is in partnership with the SPINTELLIGENT of South Africa, organisers for IPAD mining and quarry exhibition, Price Waterhouse and Coopers, Dolf Madi International Consulting.