In line with the present Administration’s economic diversification agenda,creation of jobs and growth of small and medium scale enterprises, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has embarked on the training of Nigerian youths in various aspects of professional jewelry making.
Speaking during the opening of the workshop on Design of Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Jewellery and Gemstone in Abuja, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite stated that the programme organized by the Ministry is the first of its kind. Forty Nigerian youths, selected from the states, and the Federsl Capitsl Territory, would be trained in various aspects of professional Jewelry making.
He further stated that Nigeria is traditionally rooted in rock and Gemstones jewelry making, citing “The Benin bronze Jewelry’s, Hausa/Fulani ornaments, Ice, Igbo Ukwu, and Nupe Jewelries are few examples of the past highly acclaimed artworks of the Country”.
He also disclosed that as a follow-up, the government is taking the crucial step, as demonstrated in the workshop to train Nigerians in Jewelry design and fabrication so that their output can compete favorably with the products being imported into the Country. ” We have engaged the services of experts to train the trainers and draft policies for the successful implementation of the programme”.
The Minster also appeal to all State Governments to take up the task of extending and multiplying the development of the skilled workforce in their various jurisdiction by supporting the trained Master Jewelry Experts with necessary tools and material that will enable them train other Nigerians and encourage the setting up of Jewelry and lapidary shops and buying centers.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, said one of the key priorities of the Nigrian Government is to enhance the diversification of the economy to a broader range of productive sectors. ” In the context, Agriculture and Mining sector have been identified, by the present administration, as potential sources of growth for the future, at higher level, the government’s efforts are focused on accelerating Mining investment for resource development to meet the following objectives, capture of lateral economy linkages to diversify the economy, job creation including formalizing of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM), and increased revenue including capture leakages within the current system”.
According to him, Nigeria has always been known to be a Jewellery and Gemstone producing Nation.” Nigerian Gemstones cover the entire spectrum of coloured, semi- and precious varieties, some of them with the status of world famous, such as Rubellite, a pinkish or reddish Tourmaline species”.
He stated further that the Ministry believes that with revived and fully developed gemstone and jewellery industry, Nigeria can easily leverage on her dominant youth population and rich cultural diversity to re-establish the once active trade linkages that will provide jobs, reduce capital flights, increase foreign exchange earnings and generate revenue to the Federal Government.