Nigeria: FEC approves new roadmap for mining sector

*Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Nigeria's minister of Solid Minerals.

*Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Nigeria’s minister of Solid Minerals.

…Changes name to Ministry of Mines and Steel Development

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

01 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Executive Council has approved a new roadmap for the growth and development of the nation’s mining sector and the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals.

The ministry will now be known as Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, which, indeed, was the name the ministry was known by before the new administration changed it. No reason was given for the reversion.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this when he addressed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister noted that the new roadmap, which is built on the old roadmap, seeks to grow the contribution of mining to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in line with the Federal Government’s determination to further diversify the nation’s economy.

According to him, under the new roadmap, there would be an independent regulatory agency for the mining industry as being advocated for by the operators in the mining sector.

“What it seeks to do is to grow the contribution of mining to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in line with the president’s vision to diversify our revenue base in the country, stressing the place of agriculture and mining in that.

“What distinguishes this roadmap, which builds on the old roadmap that was approved by the council in 2012, is its determination to set up an independent regulatory agency, which investors have been insisting on that the ministry which has been serving as facilitator should also not be the one that regulates them,” he said.

The minister announced that the Inspectorate, Environmental Compliance and the Artisans and Small Scale units of the ministry would form part of the regulatory agency.

He said that in the new roadmap, there would be a partnership between the federal and state governments.

He said that the partnership would address the persistent misunderstanding and conflicts between the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and states’ Ministries for Mines.

Also addressing the correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed that the Council approved a 3-year borrowing plan of “low-cost loans’’ for the country.

She said the external borrowing plan, which would be forwarded to the National Assembly, would enable the government to access low-interest loans from multilateral agencies such as World Bank, Africa Development Bank, and China Exim.

The minister dismissed the insinuation that those managing the nation’s economy were running out of ideas and confused.

According to her, even though the country is in a difficult time, the government is extremely focused and the country is going to bounce back as Nigeria is in the right hands.

“No, we are not confused, the time is confusing but we are not confused. We are extremely focused.

“We know that if we can just bear and get through this difficult period, Nigeria is going to be better for it.

“If we rely on oil and the price of oil remains low and the quantity of oil remains low, we can’t grow.

“We have to grow our non-oil economy.

“I think we have a long way to go.

“We’re not confused and we are not deceiving ourselves that everything is rosy. It’s not.

“It is a difficult time for Nigeria but I think Nigeria is in the right hands and if we can stick with our strategy, we still have some adjustments to make. I think we need to make some adjustments in monetary policy.

“It’s quite clear we do and we will do that.

“We’re working on that. We need to try and find a way to support the manufacturing sector better and we will do that,’’ she added.

In his contribution, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, announced that the council approved the renewal of the E-Wallet system of fertiliser allocation and distribution to ensure policy continuity.

He, however, stated that the process would be modified to address some identified challenges in the system.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, disclosed that the council approved the construction of an International House in the University of Ibadan to serve as hostel accommodation for foreign students in the institution.

He said the council also approved a new Library Complex for University of Lagos, at the cost of N1.9 billion.

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