By Kasim Sumaina
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, has disclosed that several factors were responsible for the low contribution of the mineral sector to the country’s economic development.
Highlighting the major achievement of his ministry in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s diversification agenda, Ogah, stated that the ministry has, however, evaluated the issues and has taken some policy actions including the new export guidelines to address the causes of low revenue.
The Minister of State, in his address at the Annual Kaduna Economic and investment Summit, in Kaduna, said that in achieving President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate of diversifying the economy, the ministry has among other things achieved the following: “The Optimization of revenue from the mining sector, strengthen collaboration with state governments and relevant security agencies to ensure security and safety of mining areas, introduce incentives to improve the investment climate for mining activities.
“Efforts are being made to stamp out illegal mining and formalizing artisanal and small-scale mining activities across the country, collaborate with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths.”
Ogah, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, further said that, “arising from the above vision of Mr. President, the ministry of Mines and Steel Development has initiated the following programmes /interventions:
“Federal Government direct Intervention Fund under the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) designed to take advantage of the under-explored metallogenic belts.
“This is aimed at generating geoscience data capable of spurring investments into the sector. The project is looking at commodities such as Gold, lead, zinc, tantalite, lithium, Iron Ore, Nickel etc.
“Downstream policy: The downstream policy of the ministry is an effort to ensure that mineral ores are not exported out of Nigeria without value addition and we are currently developing Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining Clusters in six Geopolitical zones (Kano for North-west, Bauchi for
North-east, Kogi for North – central, Ebonyi for South-east, Cross River for South-south and Oyo for South-west) of the country to harness ASM mine produce and processed them at the cluster centers.”
He, however, added that in streamlining of processes for efficiency and transparency, the ministry has upgraded and automated its mineral title administration system to enable online application in processing of mineral titles and Established Six zonal offices in each geo-political zone of the country.