By Musa Adamu
Federal government has said it would continue to pursue the implementation of well thought- out reforms and strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the mining sector in the bid to make Nigeria a leading mining jurisdiction.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, stated this in Abuja at the opening session of Project Presentation by the World Bank’s Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver).
He explained that apart from the critical stakeholders in within the country, government was also collaborating with international development agencies, to reposition the sector to meet its twin mandate of economic development, and wealth and job creation.
Noting that the Nigerian Mining sector had enjoyed huge support from the World Bank, the Minister said that the project presentation event points to that fact.
The project presentation was attended by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari; Governors of Eboyin, Engr David Umahi; Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade; Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu; Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai; former military governor of old Oyo State, Gen Paul Tarfa; and Task Team Leader MinDiver Project, World Bank, Francisco Igualada.
Dr Fayemi said that the ministry’s determination to address the issue of exclusivity of mining to the federal government and the absence of transparency and accountability, had established two bodies to ensure compliance with the provisions of the mining Roadmap.
The bodies- Mining Implementation and Strategy team (MIST), which has representatives of state government and the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD), comprises state commissioners for Mining as members.
He said: “Clearly, Mining holds a promise to be a major catalyst of our development goals – indeed, Nigeria has all it takes to become a leading mining jurisdiction in the near future. What we need more than ever before, as we have recognised, is the consistent implementation of well thought-out reforms and strategic partnerships with key stakeholders to ensure the success and sustainability of such reforms.
“This event is thus a testament to our aspirations in this regard. It is also in line with several other actions we have taken in recent years. For example, since exclusive federal jurisdiction and the lack of transparency and accountability in the sector have historically caused disaffection between the federal government on one hand; and states’ governments and communities on the other; we have taken practical steps to encourage more beneficial participation of state governments in mining.
“In consonance with our aim of improving beneficial participation of state governments in the mining sector, we have been able to secure approval for state governments to be beneficiaries of thirteen per cent (13%) derivation from mining revenue exploited in their respective states. We are also committed to building the capacity of state governments to actively participate in mining enterprise in their states through Special Purpose Vehicles and Joint Ventures with private sector players, and we continue to support state governments in this regard.
“Strategic Partnerships for Institutional Strengthening and Effective Sector Governance Similarly, in our efforts to build the capacity of the ministry to effectively regulate the sector, we have established new partnerships with the Ministry of Interior, the Nigeria Police, the Civil Defence Corps, e.t.c.”
He also said in addition to funding support from multilateral agencies, partnerships on technical cooperation had also been brokered or re-activated with several foreign governments including South Africa, China, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Nigeria.
“This is the singular most significant support we have attracted to aid our efforts in re-positioning the Nigerian mining sector, and I thank all those that have participated in bringing this initiative to fruition, including: the World Bank team, in-country and at the Washington DC headquarters; government officials of the various collaborating government entities; the National Assembly, officials of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and her entities; e.t.c.
“The MinDiver Project is a very welcome development, and a model of the possibilities that abound when stakeholders work together around a common goal. I have no doubt in my mind that this critical support from the World Bank being launched today would be a reference point On Our Road to Shared Mining Prosperity.”
Also speaking at the event, Ebonyi State Governor, Engr David Umahi, lauded the federal government’s vision for the mining sector, which he said had started yielding dividends in the form of contribution to economic development of the country.
He however, tasked the government on the need to effectively tackle the issue of environmental degradation.
Cross River State Governor, Prof ben Ayade, lauded the ministry’s initiatives, especially in ensuring active state participation in mining matters in spite of the fact that mining is on federal exclusive list.
Noting that the beauty of mining was that it provides jobs for both literates and illitrates, the governor urged the World Bank and other development agencies to show more interest in Nigeria.
Prof Ayade said the sector needs more strategic gathering to discuss and strategize on the prospects of the sector.