By Adewale Sanyaolu
Nigeria’s N13.58 trillion 2021 budget may be heading for robust implementation as the Federal Government has announced plans to commence a bid licensing round for bitumen fields across the country.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr.Olamilekan Adegbite, stated this yesterday during the first quarter webinar series organised by the Institute of Change Management (ICM) with the theme: ‘‘Unlocking Opportunities In Disruptive Times: The Mining Sector as the Game Changer for Nigeria.
Adegbite said the bid round process has been slated to commence between June and July in the four bitumen rich states of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Edo.
Already, he disclosed that companies in Canada, Europe and other parts of the world had already indicated interest to explore the bitumen potential in these States.
The Minister said a particular village in Ondo where the bitumen is already coming to the surface and sacking the entire community, as farming and other agricultural activities are already being negatively impacted. He said government has already spent a lot of money on exploration works in the states and wouldn’t want to give out the licenses for free, hence the decision to auction them to interested entities.
Adegbite disclosed that interested bidders would be given access to the data report from where they could signify their choice bitumen field. He said the bid process would be carried out and opened in a transparent manner with licenses given to the highest bidders so that they can start mining bitumen without further delay.
The Minister assured that within the next one year, successful bidders would have commenced mining on the fields, thus making Nigeria self sufficient in bitumen resources. ‘‘In the next one year, Nigeria should have stopped importing bitumen but rather exporting same to neighbouring countries, thereby helping the country to conserve foreign exchange” he said