From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated the board of the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), charging it to actualise the present administration’s target of fixing the nation’s mining industry to become a key contributor to achieving national goals of diversifying the sovereign revenue base and creating jobs.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who gave the charge in Abuja said the First Quarter 2017 gross domestic product report recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that “coal mining, metal ores and quarrying and other metals, grew strongly by 2.03 per cent, 40.79 per cent and 52.54 per cent, respectively,” which was indicative that the sector had continued to justify the priority given to it by the Federal Government.
Fayemi said a lot more ground was yet to be covered as the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020), projected that the minerals and metals sector being one of those to drive Nigeria’s recovery; would 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 tasked the board to continue with the processes already initiated to raise $600 million from the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) as well as establish solid minerals fund in the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Chairman of the board, Alhaji Uba Malami, said they would be innovative and ingenious while working assiduously to mobilise funds to grow the sector in line with the ERGP target.