MINISTERIAL SUCCESSION: Operators endorse Fayemi’s recommendation of Bawa Bwari for top job


Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari
  • Task PMB, FEC on ‘continuous pursuit of Roadmap for growth & devt of mining sector’
  • As group lists reasons for recommending Bawa Bwari for top job

The umbrella association of miners in the country, Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to heed Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s recommendation of his former deputy minister, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, for the top job in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

The seventy-four year old association of mining operators noted that that Abubakar Bawa Bwari has not only demonstrated remarkable passion for the growth and sustainable development of the mining sector, but has demonstrated the know-how to drive the pursuit of the administration’s set goals for the sector.

National President of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alh Sani Shehu who made the call during an exclusive interview with The TRUTH in Abuja said “the resignation of Dr. Kayode Fayemi created a huge vacuum which needs to be addressed in a manner that will continue the realisation of set goals.”

The TRUTH recalls that Fayemi whose resignation took effect on May 31st 2018, passionately advised President Muhammadu Buhari to elevate his former deputy minister, Abubakar Bawa Bwari to the position of Honourable Minister in the ministry.

According to Alh Sani Shehu, president of MAN, a National Industry association with diverse membership of over four thousand mining operators, “after considering and evaluating various factors relevant to the development of the country’s mining sector, decided to throw its weight behind the call for the confirmation of Bawa Bwari as Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development.

The present explained that the association decided to endorse Fayemi’s call for confirmation of Bawa Bwari, not just because Fayemi made the call, but also because of the association’s independent rating of the performance of the Fayemi-Bwari team, adding that their effort to fund the sector is particularly commendable.

“As the umbrella association of licensed miners in Nigeria, MAN has watched the progress scored by the Fayemi team since the team came into office in 2015, and we are inspired by the achievements scored for the sector under his watch.

“As a result, we hereby call on His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to honour the outgoing Minister’s call for the elevation of the Acting Minister, Abubakar Bawa Bwari to the position of Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel.

“While we state categorically that government needs to do so much more to realize the full potentials of the mining sector in order to attain economic diversification via development of the sector, we also commend the former minister, Dr John Kayode Fayemi for the remarkable achievements scored under his watch.

“We commend the unity of the team in pursuit of an agenda that is being responsibly pursued even as they are achieving some mandates of the ministry.

“Together, Fayemi and Bawa Bwari have worked together to significantly increase the revenue generated from the sector and its contribution to national GDP, a feat that shows that the country’s revenue base is being diversified from dependence on crude oil.

Discussing some of the reasons why the association endorsed Fayemi’s recommendation of Bawa Bwari, Alh Sani Shehu said the team was also able to develop the sector and improve its capacity to create jobs and broaden the range of economic opportunities available to Nigerians while promoting and ensuring environmental justice and sustainability in mining operations.

While he noted that there is still so much more to be done, he explained that the team is in the process of developing the initiative to work with security institutions for safety and security in the country, by the strict monitoring of the movement and usage of explosives.

“Together with stakeholders, the team was able to put together a Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Sector which is being pursued even though there is still a lot more to be done.

Giving more reasons, Alh Sani Shehu said: “As an association, we recall the age long challenge of funding the sector and we commend the Fayemi team for the effort to improve funding for the sector even though the conditions for accessing the fund must be reviewed to make the objective realizable.

“To be specific, in the area of funding, the ministry of Mines and Steel Development while under Dr John Kayode Fayemi, obtained N30bn intervention fund from the Federal Government, partly to help provide soft loans to industry participants as well as for direct investment in foundation infrastructure,” he explained, adding that this effort is particularly commendable because lack of funding is one of the major challenges that stunted the growth of the sector decades.

According to the president of the association which was founded in 1944 and then known as Association of African Miners, “Under Fayemi, government also secured support from the World Bank for the funding of the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MSSED or MinDiver) program, a critical component of which is to provide technical assistance for the restructuring and operationalization of the Solid Minerals Development Fund, which would make finance available to ASM operators through micro-finance and leasing institutions.

“We are confident that as proposed, the fund will bring back on stream, previously abandoned mining projects like tin ore, iron ore, coal, gold and lead-zinc.

There was also the effort to address lack of geological data and weak institutional capacity as well as effort to address limited supporting infrastructure in the sector, he said.

While saying that the Fayemi team did not work in isolation, but with some state governments across the federation, the president explained that the team was able to commence the development of mining resource corridors around some states, and along key infrastructure like railways, to help establish cluster industrial zones, which will become the fulcrum for increased economic opportunities and growth.

“We believe that when states are able to determine their comparative advantage within the mining resource corridors, they can also make meaningful infrastructural investments to support the efforts we are making as operators.

“Another area worthy of commendation is the effort to address limited cooperative federalism bedevilling the mining sector.

Sani said in order to encourage beneficial participation of state governments in the mining sector, government was able to secure approval for the implementation of the constitutionally guaranteed 13% derivation for mineral revenue to states, a feat he said will go a long way to encourage states in the quest to develop mining activities at state levels.

“Also worthy of mention is the improvement in the productivity of the sector noticeable by the remarkable increase in the contribution to the federation account from N700M in 2015 to about N2Bn in 2016.

“As an effort toward addressing illegal mining and community challenges, the ministry while under Fayemi and Bwari worked with state governments and relevant ministries to formalize and manage artisanal miners, while also working with defense and security agencies to curb the actions of illegal mining in the country.

Sani said: “Having considered these efforts and many more, and the necessity to consolidate on them toward scoring the goal of diversifying the Nigerian economy by deploying the economic potentials of the mining sector, the Miners Association of Nigeria fervently calls on the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm the Ag Honorable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari as the substantive Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel development.

“We are sure that Bawa Bwari will be able to continue the progressive pursuit of the administration’s set goals for the sector,” he added.

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