From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
In its bid to develop the value chain of mineral resources in the country and achieve its Presidential mandate to prioritize and develop 7 strategic minerals in the Mining Roadmap, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is set to launch its made in Nigeria Barite .
This was disclosed by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite during the courtesy visit of a delegation from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), led by the Executive Secretary, Ogbonnaya Orji, to the Ministry, yesterday.
The Minister noted that the Ministry has succeeded in achieving the development of barite from extraction, milling and bagging stages to support local industries, as well as for export, adding that the Nigeria bagged barite has “Proudly Nigeria’ as it’s logo.
Adegbite, while acknowledging the impressive contribution of NEITI in ensuring transparency and accountability in the sector, stated that the Ministry is working at updating and upgrading its ICT infrastructure to enable it link the 10 agencies in the Ministry to ensure that all data of royalties paid and funds received would be properly monitored and uploaded to the Ministry’s server for online real time accessibility, and assured of the Ministry’s continued cooperation with NEITI.
In his remarks, Minster of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, appreciated NEITI for the visit, noting that the collaboration between the Ministry and NEITI is of great importance as it would ensure mining accruals are transparently monitored.
Earlier, the Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Ogbonnaya Orji said the purpose of the visit was to deepen relationship with the Ministry and share data that would enable the organisation report accurately and transparently the activities in the sector, saying “the Ministry has data NEITI can rely on.”
He noted that sharing information and data with NEITI would attract investors as well as build confidence in the mining sector. He therefore, requested that the Ministry’s website be uploaded regularly to enable would be investors get the right information from the Ministry’s web page.
Speaking, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, who was represented by Director Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, Patrick Ojeka, disclosed that the days of NEITI auditing the Ministry without its knowledge were over as MMSD is ready and willing to share information of its activities and data with the organisation.