Nigeria rebrands mining sector

Timothy Choji, Abuja

The mining sector in Nigeria is being rebranded, to improve revenue proceeds, in line with government’s diversification plans.

Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi aanounced this to State House Correspondents after Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council FEC, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He announced that the Council also approved a change in the name of the Ministry from that of Mines and Solid Minerals, to Mines and Steel Development.

According to the Minister, the change of name was in line with international standards. He said the new roadmap will afford the mining sector the opportunity to contribute at least five percent to Nigeria’s GDP.

“What the roadmap seeks to do is to grow the contribution of mining to the GDP on the back of the President’s vision to diversify our revenues and strengthen the place of agriculture and mining in the process,” he said.FEC 5

Highlighting the components of the roadmap, Mr Kayode Fayemi said it will allow for the operations of an independent regulatory agency and also enhance the partnership between the federal and state governments.

“This roadmap builds on the old one approved by Council in 2012 and what distinguishes it from the old one is its determination to set up an independent regulatory agency which investors have been insisting on; that the ministry that is now an enabler should not be the one that regulates them.

So we will now have something similar to what obtains in the power sector, where you have the National Electricity Regulatory Council NERC and the communications sector where you have the Nigerian Communications Commission NCC.

We will now have a mines regulatory agency. Another thing that is critical in the new roadmap is to strengthen the partnership between the federal government and the states, since the minerals underneath belong to the federal government while the land where they are deposited belongs to the state governments. Mining cadastral, zonal office will be created to enhance that,” the minister explained.

Concessional Loan

On her part, Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun announced the approval of a three year concessional loan by FEC, which needs to be sent to the National Assembly for approval. FEC 3 (1)

She listed the agriculture, health, power and mines sectors as major beneficiaries of the loan.

“This plan, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council, which will be transmitted to the National Assembly for their approval, includes concessional loans, average interest rates, 1.25%, four to seven year moratorium and 20 years repayment period, will be obtained from agencies such as the World Bank, Africa Development Bank, China Exim Bank and a number of development agencies,” she said.

The Finance Minister told newsmen that the recession Nigeria is facing today started six years ago and the fall in the price of oil worsened the situation.

Also addressing State House correspondents, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu said the Council approved the building of an international house at the University of Ibadan at the cost of one point three billion naira and a new library at the University of Lagos
at the cost of one point nine billion naira.

He said: “When completed, the International House will be used as a lodge for guests of the institution; especially those coming from outside Nigeria while the new library in Lagos will compliment the old one that has been in existence for decades.”

The Agriculture Ministry also obtained an approval for the renewal of the E-wallet service for farmers, as explained by Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbe.

“We had a memo approved by Council, to renew the Goods Enhancement Scheme, also called the E-wallet System which was put in place by the immediate past administration. We want this to run for another year, so that we can go on with the monitoring, to know who gets what farm input, at what price and we can also keep an eye on the costs.

The quotation by the mobile phone service provider N884 million but we were able to bargain it N383 million,” the Agric Minister narrated.

Mr Ogbe assured Nigerians that agriculture would help surmount current economic challenges.