In furtherance of achieving its mandate in diversifying and growing the economy, providing jobs for the teeming youths and growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has established the International Gold Souk Trading Centre in Kano to harness the benefits from the abundance of gold in the country.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, said the establishment of the Gold Souk in Kano was one of the clusters established in each Geopolitical Zone of the country according to the mineral or downstream prospects in the areas to strengthen the downstream value chain of some specific solid minerals.
The Minister explained that the choice of the project for Kano and the North-West is obvious as the status of Kano as a hub for the famous trans-Saharan gold trade route is indisputable, noting that a huge percentage of unaccounted gold trade has made it imperative to address the challenge of such huge loss of revenue by providing the necessary facilities that will formalize the trade and bring greater benefits to the people and the nation.
Furthermore, the Minster revealed that the edifice was designed with all necessary facilities to provide users with quality services that will enhance global best practice experience. In his words, “this project is expected to help genuine operators and their clients to transact their businesses smoothly, in a befitting environment, under government supervision, protection and support and to discourage illegal gold trade”.
While noting that it is expected that legitimate gold trading transactions in Kano and environs will occur seamlessly within the platform that will attract reputable International inflow with many ancillary businesses that will boost the nation’s economy, create jobs and bring prosperity to Nigeria, the Minister called on the miners, refiners, the marketers, relevant State Government authorities, the Nigerian Customs Service, Security services, the facility managers as well as the community to work with the Ministry at all times to ensure the Sustainace of the facility.
According to a statement signed by Tine-Iulun M. A., for Head, Press in the ministry, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, who was represented by the Director Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining, Yunusa Mohammed, disclosed that the establishment of the Kano Gold International Trading Centre will put an end to years of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operators engagement in informal mining and trading of unprocessed gold which has led to the underutilization of the huge potential in the gold mining subsector.
Dr. Akinlade noted that the establishment of the Gold souk in Kano State will stimulate additional economic activities which will lead to the creation of more jobs along the gold mining value chain in the Northwest Zone and improve revenue generation for operators in the sector and government, stating that the Gold Souk is positioned to attract global investors and businesses to Kano city and environs.
Enumerating that the gold souk is designed with facilities to beneficiate; test; certify; document, and effect necessary payments for royalties and processes required to support international transactions; state-of-the-art gold processing equipment; administrative block; training section; offices; stable power supply; ICT facilities among others, she stated that the gold souk will improve data gathering, curb smuggling and enhance formalization of ASM to stem illegal activities in the sector.
The Permanent Secretary expressed delight at the Commissioning of the project and assured of Government’s commitment to creating enabling environment for more investments in the utilization of the abundant mineral resources in the country for economic growth and development.
Also, the Senior Special Adviser to the Executive Governor on Solid Minerals, Suleiman Ahmed who spoke on behalf of the Governor of Kano state, noted that the facility would ameliorate poverty not only in Kano but the Northeast adding that it will create jobs for the youths and reduce crime. He appreciated the Ministry for choosing to site the project in Kano.
In his goodwill message, the representative of the Mineral and Gold Processors, Mujtaba Maharaz, expressed gratitude to the Ministry for bringing the giant project to Kano. He urged miners and marketers to patronize the Gold International Trading Centre to improve the economy.
Delivering his vote of thanks, the Director Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining, Yunusa Mohammed, applauded the untiring efforts of the Minister, the Minister of State and that of the Permanent Secretary for ensuring that the cluster projects in the six geopolitical zones are completed and commissioned for a robust and vibrant mining sector in Nigeria.
He noted that the objective behind the establishment of these projects was rooted in promoting the formalization of ASM in Nigeria for economic growth and development.