Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite yesterday said the mines and steel sector is ‘one of the core pillars of President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policy,’ adding that the sector is being repositioned in order to diversify the economy to create wealth and jobs, as well as increase contribution to GDP, and expand the range of economic opportunities available to Nigerians.
Speaking at the ASM Mining Support Fund Workshop in Abuja, he said: ‘Towards the attainment of these goals, the administration initiated a slew of reforms to reposition the Minerals and Metals Sector for sustainable growth and development.’
‘One of the significant reform strategies was the development of a Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry, to unleash the enormous potential in the sector and to guide the investment decisions of the Ministry over the next two decades. The Roadmap was graciously approved by FEC on 31st August, 2016 for implementation, and the benefits are coming almost every day.’
The minister said mining in Nigeria is still largely artisanal based, which is why the Ministry created a department called Artisanal and Small-scale Mining, to provide institutional support for artisanal miners who form the bulk of the operators and manpower in the sector.
‘Through this department we have continuously engaged all stakeholders to ensure the formalization of the Artisanal Miners into cooperative groups for easier management and access to financial support and commodity markets.
‘The ministry made available N2.5 billion, while the BOI matched it with another N2.5 billion counterpart funding, making a total of N5 billion,’ he said, adding that as at September 30, 2020 a total of 138 applications totaling N14. 59 billion was received by the Fund and are at various stages of processing.’