Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, have called for stakeholders’ buy-in for the exploitation of the economic opportunities in the nation’s mining sector.
Speaking in Ado Ekiti at the closing session of the third edition of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development, NCMMRD, the governor challenged the council to fashion out ways to engage stakeholders in the sector on how to contribute their quota so that the sector can contribute at least five per cent to the National Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
The theme of the three-day council meeting which took place at the weekend is: “Nigeria Minerals and Metal Sector: Spectrum for Investment Opportunities for Economic Growth and Development.”
Fayemi, who renewed his call for the diversification of the nation’s economy, stressed the need to guide against unsafe mining practices and reduce instances where individuals are exploiting the state’s resources to the detriment of socio-economic development of the country.
Fayemi, who was Minister of Mines and Steel Development said the Buhari-led Federal Government was giving a lot of attention to the mining sector, in addition to the support from development partners, which led to the $150 million mining diversification fund from the World Bank.
He, however, stressed the need for increase in funding for the sector because of its capital intensive nature, adding that that would attract more investors into it and give them confidence that government was not lagging behind.
“We need to continue to advocate for diversification of the economy. There are economic opportunities in mining and mineral resources development if properly harnessed. We need to guide against unsafe mining practices and support our artisanal miners to better organise themselves and reduce the incidence where individuals are exploiting the state resources to the detriment of socio-economic development of our nation.
“The goal in the mining roadmap is that mining would contribute five per cent (5%) to our national GDP by 2025 and help diversify the nation’s economy. It is my expectation that this Council would spend time to devise strategies and policies that would ensure acceleration of mining contribution to the national GDP”, he said.
He challenged the council to proffer ways of engaging mining stakeholders to ensure they contribute their quota towards the growth of the sector as he expressed optimism that the outcome of the conference would receive the support of all stakeholders.
The governor tasked the council to device strategies and policies that would ensure that the sector contributed significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Discussions at the meeting focused on strategies for sustainable mining and value addition, addressing security challenges in the sector and how to foster synergy among the three tiers of government, among others.
The meeting had in attendance commissioners and permanent secretaries in charge of mining and mineral resources from the 36 states of the federation, academia, private sector, security agencies, leaders of mining unions and other stakeholders.
Adegbite, in his address, lamented that the sector had in the past made very little impact “for lack of broad based buy-in and support from critical stakeholders” but thanked Fayemi for initiating the Mining Roadmap which was aimed at unleashing the enormous potential in the mining sector in 2016.
The minister said the major highlights of Fayemi’s mining roadmap were achievable through stakeholders’ engagement and would ultimately increase mining contribution to the GDP while also providing shared prosperity to all the stakeholders.
Adegbite said many well intentioned policies and programmes initiated in the past could not make much impact due to lack of broad based buy-in and support from critical stakeholders.