The federal government has commenced the process for the establishment of a mining intervention fund.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, said the fund was part of government’s determination to diversify the country’s economic base and ensure that the solid minerals sector contributed significantly to the gross domestic product, particularly its jobs creation efforts.
The minister said the fund was designed to provide incentives for local miners and investors in a bid to stimulate growth in the sector.
The minister disclosed this during a breakfast meeting organised by the Stanbic IBTC Bank with investors in the Iron and Steel sector in Lagos on Friday.
Mr. Fayemi said the ministry was already working with the Bankers Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Bank of Industry, BOI towards achieving that objective.
The Bankers Committee is made up of managing directors and chief executives of all the commercial banks in the country.
The minister said the intervention fund was part of the incentives government was putting in place to boost local production of solid minerals.
He reiterated the ministry’s commitment to exploit the nation’s mineral endowments in an environmentally sustainable manner.
“Government is determined to establish a vibrant minerals and metal industry for wealth creation, poverty reduction, promotion of economic growth and significant contribution to the country’s gross domestic product,” Mr. Fayemi said.
He decried a situation where the country currently imports an estimated $3.3 billion (about N650.1 billion) of processed steel and associated derivatives every year, representing 80 per cent of the total annual expenditure of $4.2 billion (about N827.4 billion) on metal products imports.
He said despite the country’s relatively robust iron ore reserves, the combined national installed capacity of the 30 steel rolling mills was 6.5 metric tons per annum.
Of the 30 mills, the minister said only 18 were operational, with annual production capacity of about 2.8 metric tons using 100 per cent scrap metals.
He was confident that government would realize its plan for a major turnaround in the solid minerals sector through a strategic support for the local and foreign investors to create the enabling environment through the right policy for mining activities.