The Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) which enjoys a $150m facility from the World Bank is perfectly in tandem with the aspiration of government to develop the mining sector as a sustainable source of revenue for the country, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has said.
The Minister, who gave the assurance on Thursday in Abuja, at the opening session of Project Presentation by the World Bank’s Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) described the project as a ‘very welcome development, and a model of the possibilities that abound when stakeholders work together around a common goal.’
Discussing the World Bank’s commitment to the realisation of Nigeria’s set goal of economic diversification, the minister commended the World Bank for ‘really taking on board all of our own issues in the MinDiver project.’
‘Very often, what we are told is that donor support is largely driven by what the donor wants, not necessarily the needs of the recipient country, but I am happy to assure you that working with the World Bank team on this project shows that the contrary is the case.’
‘The World Bank listened to Nigeria while determining what eventually became this project, largely on the basis of the roadmap that the government of Nigeria developed,’ he said.
‘Of course they guided and shared with us the experiences they had with other countries, however, everything that is contained in the programme document for this sector initiative is driven by government of Nigeria.’
‘We cannot therefore, hold the World Bank responsible for the success or failure of this project; we must hold ourselves responsible for the outcome,’ he said.
‘In the future when the very positive and incontrovertible outcomes of our reforms in the Nigerian Mining sector become evident, posterity would be kind to all those that worked hard to deliver this project.’
The minister who assured that the Federal Government would continue to pursue the implementation of well thought-out reforms and strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the mining sector in the bid to make Nigeria a leading mining jurisdiction, explained that apart from engaging critical stakeholders within the country, government was also collaborating with international development agencies, to reposition the sector to meet its twin mandate of economic development, and wealth and job creation.
Noting that the Nigerian Mining sector has enjoyed huge support from the World Bank, the Minister said that the project presentation event points to that fact.
The project presentation was attended by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari; Governors of Eboyin, Engr David Umahi; Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade; Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu; Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai; former military governor of old Oyo State, Gen Paul Tarfa; and Task Team Leader MinDiver Project, World Bank, Francisco Igualada.
Dr Fayemi said that the ministry’s determination to address the issue of exclusivity of mining to the federal government and the absence of transparency and accountability, has established two bodies to ensure compliance with the provisions of the mining Roadmap.
The bodies – Mining Implementation and Strategy team (MIST), which has representatives of state government and the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD), which comprises of state commissioners for Mining as members.
The Minister said: “Clearly, Mining holds a promise to be a major catalyst of our development goals – indeed, Nigeria has all it takes to become a leading mining jurisdiction in the near future. What we need more than ever before, as we have recognised, is the consistent implementation of well thought-out reforms and strategic partnerships with key stakeholders to ensure the success and sustainability of such reforms.
“This event is thus a testament to our aspirations in this regard. It is also in line with several other actions we have taken in recent years. For example, since exclusive federal jurisdiction and the lack of transparency and accountability in the sector have historically caused disaffection between the federal government on one hand; and states’ governments and communities on the other; we have taken practical steps to encourage more beneficial participation of state governments in mining.
“We have established two key oversight bodies mandated to hold our ministry accountable to following through with the provisions of the Roadmap – the ‘Mining Implementation Strategy Team (MIST)’ and the ‘National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD). State Governments are represented on the MIST and every state commissioner in charge of the mining sector in the respective states, is a member of the NCMMRD..
“Late last year, the NCMMRD held an inaugural summit to deepen cooperation between federal and state authorities in the mining sector. The participants agreed, among other things to forge synergy among federal, state governments and local government areas “through the instrumentality of Minerals Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) as provided for by Section 19 of Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007; as well as a synergy between the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the state governments to improve operational collaboration and enhance communication for effective execution of the roadmap for the growth and development of the mining industry.”
“In consonance with our aim of improving beneficial participation of state governments in the mining sector, we have been able to secure approval for state governments to be beneficiaries of thirteen per cent (13%) derivation from mining revenue exploited in their respective states. We are also committed to building the capacity of state governments to actively participate in mining enterprise in their states through Special Purpose Vehicles and Joint Ventures with private sector players, and we continue to support state governments in this regard.
“Strategic Partnerships for Institutional Strengthening and Effective Sector Governance Similarly, in our efforts to build the capacity of the ministry to effectively regulate the sector, we have established new partnerships with the Ministry of Interior, the Nigeria Police, the Civil Defence Corps, e.t.c.
The Minister also said in addition to funding support from multilateral agencies, partnerships on technical cooperation have also been brokered or re-activated with several foreign governments including South Africa, China, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Nigeria, he added, “now takes the lead in regional efforts to develop mining, especially within the framework of the Africa Mining Vision.”
Speaking further, the Minister said the World Bank has given the mining sector the singular most significant support, “This is the singular most significant support we have attracted to aid our efforts in re-positioning the Nigerian mining sector, and I thank all those that have participated in bringing this initiative to fruition, including: the World Bank team, in-country and at the Washington DC headquarters; government officials of the various collaborating government entities; the National Assembly, officials of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and her entities among others.
“The MinDiver Project is a very welcome development, and a model of the possibilities that abound when stakeholders work together around a common goal. I have no doubt in my mind that this critical support from the World Bank being launched today would be a reference point On Our Road to Shared Mining Prosperity.”
Also speaking at the event, Ebonyi State Governor, Engr David Umahi, lauded the federal government’s vision for the mining sector, which he said has started yielding dividends in the form of contribution to economic development of the country.
He however tasked the government on the need to effectively tackle the issue of environmental degradation.
Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade lauded the ministry’s initiatives, especially in ensuring active state participation in mining matters in spite of the fact that mining is on federal exclusive list.
Noting that the beauty of mining is that it provides jobs for both literates and illitrates, the governor urged the World Bank and other development agencies to show more interest in Nigeria.
Prof Ayade said the sector needs more strategic gathering to discuss and strategize on the prospects of the sector.