The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development says it contributed N3.5 billion to the Federation Account in 2017.
Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of the sector, disclosed this at the 2017 end of the year ministerial briefing on Thursday in Abuja.
Mr. Fayemi said the ministry made steady progress in 2017, adding that as at November, the sector had already surpassed the entire revenue of about N2 billion generated in 2016.
“In 2017, the ministry featured in the story of our journey to economic recovery and consolidation; the GDP figures for second quarter 2017, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics indicated that the economy grew by 0.55 per cent.
“The improved performance was not only the Oil and Gas sector, but other economic activities like mining; the sector grew by 2.24 per cent in that quarter.
“The mining sector remains a critical factor in the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020) which projects that the minerals and metals sector will be one of those that will drive Nigeria’s recovery.
“It is also expected to grow sectoral contribution to GDP from N103 billion (2015) to N141 billion in 2020, at an average annual growth rate of 8.54 per cent.”
He said 2017 had been very eventful, adding that the ministry exertions were centered on advancing the reforms that began in 2016, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari mandate to diversify the economy through the mining sector.
He said in line with the ‘Roadmap’ for the sector approved in August 2016, the ministry’s aspiration remained to “build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market for Nigeria minerals and ores.
He said the ministry had established a new department to monitor and control the local mineral trade chain comprising purchasing, sales and export.
He said in its short span, the department had been able to put forth a roadmap for the development of a sustainable framework for mineral trade and export ecosystem.
According to him, the department is working in collaboration with the MinDiver Project Office, the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme (NESS), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) among others.
He said that new mineral export guidelines and procedures had been developed as immediate remedial measures to curb revenue leakages from mineral exports, adding that the guidelines would be effected in the first quarter of 2018.
He promised that the ministry would gear to do more in 2018 to contribute to building a strong and diversified economy.
According to him, technical and business innovation is continually needed to maintain the industry’s international competitiveness and to ensure that mining is conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner.
He said ministry would sustain the growth trajectory achieved by stimulating new exploration activities, increased production from active mining, functional (and expanded) processing and refining capacity.
“The net outcome will be the creation of thousands of direct jobs and potentially hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.
According to the minister, one of the key projects the ministry is embarking upon in 2018, in partnership with some state governments, is Gold Purchase Scheme and it will kick start from Kebbi and Osun as a pilot project.
He said the mandate of the scheme included equipping of the artisanal miners; provision of extension services and the take-off of all the gold produced by the participants in the scheme.
He added that the aim was to facilitate employment creation, poverty reduction and increase in revenue to the federation account.
The minister said a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would be licensed by government to manage the gold purchase scheme.
He said in 2018, the ministry would undertake extensive Electromagnetic Airborne Geophysical Survey of promising parts of the country.
“The aim is to work with competent consultants to deploy logistical and technical equipment with radiometric, magnetic, electromagnetic and allied capabilities, to capture and provide analysis of the geology of Nigeria and the mineralisation of the areas covered.
“We are also working towards the completion of the equipping of the National Mineral Database, among others, in collaboration with the China Geological Surveys, to conduct an extensive geochemical mapping programme across the country.”
“We consider this a very important part of our work in 2018, to deliver a comprehensive bankable data of our mineral endowments across the country.”
He said the bulk of the fund realised from intervention fund so far would be used for exploration activities.
He promised that 2018 would be the year of revival for Ajaokuta and Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) at Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom. (NAN)