16 October 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – NIGERIA’S Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Mohammed Sada, has identified funding as a major problem of the minerals and metals sector of the economy.
He said a realistic method of funding was necessary if government is to achieve the goal of diversifying the nation’s economic base from oil and gas to solid minerals.
Sada spoke through the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Linus Awute, during the visit of the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, led by its Chairman, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, to the ministryt in Abuja.
“Until there is a consistent funding window built on equity and justice for the development of solid minerals sector of the economy, the desired results can hardly be achieved,” he said.
He explained that the sum of N340million only was released to the ministry towards the end of September, out of the N834.57million appropriated for 23 capital projects; include drilling of boreholes, procurement of geological equipments, consultancy services for reclamation of abandoned mines among others in the year 2012.
“With regards to the 2012 budget, the ministry has 23 capital projects all of which are in progress,” he said.
Sada disclosed that payments for completed projects have been made and the projects execution was presently 73.24 percent, and gave the assurance that the ministry would achieve 100 percent project implementation by the end of 2012, if funds were disbursed timely.
He attributed the delay in project execution to untimely release of approved funds, saying that the ministry was proactive in addressing various problems confronting the nation’s minerals and metals sector.
“The ministry had evolved a comprehensive roadmap that captures all the challenges and their respective solutions for the sustainable development of the minerals and metals sector,” he said.