The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite has said that government is strategically revamping the country’s mining sector in order to create large scale job opportunities while creating wealth and industrializing the country, adding that the administration has taken decisive steps to end the exports of jobs.
While saying that about 35 million tons of unprocessed solid mineral commodities are exported annually, he expressed concern that the export of unprocessed solid minerals creates wealth and jobs in foreign lands while it leads to massive losses in opportunities for wealth and jobs for Nigerians.
The minister who spoke through his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Mr Sunny Ekozin in Abuja, said the ministry had been working round the clock to actualize presidential directives for the development of the mining sector, adding that the proposed Nigerian solid minerals downstream workshop scheduled for 2nd December 2019 is a strategy that aims to fully deliver the potentials of the sector for economic diversification.
Adegbite explained that one of the steps taken was the process of developing the Nigerian Downstream Mineral Policy. According to the minister, the policy is first of its kind in the history of the country, saying that the downstream mineral policy will trigger the nation with a clear diversification blue print in a sustainable manner, especially for the revamping of Ajaokuta steel company.
While saying that it will pave way for effective harnessing of the abundant minerals with which Nigeria is endowed across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), he explained that as part of the process leading to the revamping of the entire solid minerals sector, government, through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, “is sensitizing key stakeholders, especially large investors of the novel initiative for the development of solid mineral downstream value chains.”
While reiterating the commitment of the ministry to ensuring that the president’s mandate was realized within the next three years, the minister explained that President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to his ministry for the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company.
He said, “For the past three months, we have been doing everything possible to ensure that we make progress and we are happy to let the nation know that the president has given us full backing in this assignment.”
Discussing the political will of president Muhammadu Buhari to develop the mining sector, Adegbite said: “The support given by the president include political backing to ensure that Ajaokuta Steel Company works, and by the grace of God it will work soon,” adding that part of the directives by Buhari was for the sector to solve long intractable problems bedeviling the solid minerals and to ensure Nigeria could rely on the sector to diversify its economy.
He said that after articulating the problems for the past three months, the administration was on the path to harnessing the potential that abound in the minerals sector for the benefit of the people in the country.