Solid Minerals Will Contribute 10 Per Cent Of GDP, Says Fayemi

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, has said that with the government’s determination of diversifying revenue base of the country it is possible that the solid mineral sector contribute 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country in near future.

Fayemi who spoke at the 52nd Conference of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Tuesday, said a major focus of the ministry is to make the contribution to the GDP improve from the present 0.3% to at least 10%.

The Minister said that the country’s solid minerals sector is currently being repositioned to meet the Federal Government’s plan to diversify the economy and create jobs through the sector.

He disclosed that the ministry had planned numerous innovations to overcome all the encumbrances that could hinder the attainment of the goal.

He stated: “We strongly believe that the only way minerals development can be sustainable is through economic linkages. We shall promote the development of industrial minerals and encourage down stream linkages leading to the processing of these minerals for our local industries.

“It is expected that huge foreign exchange will be conserved through import substitution; jobs will be created, technological capacity will improve and there shall be increase in resource rents.

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“We shall concentrate on developing minerals that are critical feedstock in oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure.”

The minister said the generation of geosciences data to unlock the potential of the sector has been a major challenge. He said the present government has found it essential to improve generation of baseline data such as geophysical, geochemical and geological datasets necessary to unveil the tremendous geological potential of the nation.

In his address, the President of NMGS, Prof Gbenga Okunlola, lauded the current efforts of the President Mohammadu Buhari administration in focusing on the mining sector as a way to diversify the economy, assuring that NMGS would provide the required technical and professional supports.

Okunola who also speficially commended Fayemi’s strategic engagement and partnership with the society in moving the sector forward , said the NMGS would provide all the needed technical support to the ministry’s effort to make the Ajaokuta Steel Company work.

The NMGS President said the society is excited that the current administration is pursuing the issue of diversification with much vigour, adding that the society had always advocated the need for diversification of the economy from oil.

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Earlier , the Governor of Kwara State, Abduifatah Ahmed, had while receiving Fayemi at the Governor’s lodge, said the state is ready to partner with the federal government in exploring the minerals deposit in the state in line with the proposal made by the minister.

The governor said the state had already floated a special purpose vehicle to drive the process as suggested by the ministry, adding that he was convinced that the ministry would live up to expectation in view of its current leadership.

Ahmed said his administration was also concerned about the activities of illegal miners and had commenced a programme aimed at monitoring mining activities and sites in the state