The World Bank set to grant Nigeria a loan of $150 million to help the country develop her mining sector.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the development.
“Yes I have come to brief the President about what is going on in the mining sector and to particularly inform him of the major breakthrough we had on Friday with the World Bank approving the $150million dollar request that we made to them during the meeting in Washington,” he said.
The minister disclosed that part of the loan would be used for the gathering of geological data, provision of technological equipment for artisanal and small scale miners.
“The grant will also be used to assist those crossing over from exploration to exploitation and to actual mining,” he added.
On the activities of illegal miners, the Minister said “the work we are doing with regards to that, I can say that my tour around the country has revealed the gradual improvements we are beginning to see in the sector particularly in relation to our growth. It is a sector that seems to have defiled recession, according to the bureau of statistics, its growing while other sectors may be experiencing challenges; that is not to say that we have reached Eldorado.”
Dr Fayemi said President Buhari has approved an intervention fund for the sector, the first of its kind in the history of the country.
The World Bank had on Wednesday via a statement announced the approval of the 150 million dollars credit to help increase the mining sector’s contribution to the Nigerian economy.
The Senior Communication Officer of the bank, Ms Olufunke Olufon, who signed the statement, said the credit would help to establish a strong foundation for mining sector development in Nigeria.
She added that “the facility would also enhance competitiveness by improving information infrastructure and knowledge of mining.”
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Nguru Usani, who also briefed President Buhari on the activities of his ministry on Thursday, dismissed the assertion that the Ministry had not inaugurated a single project in the past 16 months.
“I came to brief the President on issues of concern in the region and work progress in the ministry. I told him that we are meeting our target and we also wish to achieve more. Every Nigerian is concerned that the East-West Road is not completed yet. Work is in progress,” he said.
Usani told Journalists that his ministry had successfully completed a number of verifiable developmental projects in the Niger Delta region.
“It is not true that the ministry has not commissioned projects. We have commissioned one and about four others are ready for commissioning. Some health centres will soon be ready and some classroom blocks are being painted now and equipment are ready,” Usani stated.
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Solomon Dalung, who was also in the State House to brief President Buhari, said: “I came to update the President about the progress recorded so far in our efforts to reposition the sports sector, especially the forthcoming national federation elections with the guidelines that have been approved by the stakeholders’ forum and the process for the elections, which has been kick-started.”