Henry Uche, Lagos
The Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, has affirmed that the solid minerals sector would soon become Nigeria’s major source of prosperity if all hands are on deck.
Represented by his Senior Special Assistant, (Technical), Olu Adedayo, the Minister who made this known in a Webinar workshop recently put together by Global Rights, noted that the Ministry would not fail to deliver on its mandate to ‘ensure the orderly and sustainable development of the Nigeria’s Mineral Resources.’
Adegbite averred that the Ministry would work in line with the African Mining Vision which aims at a transparent equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad based sustainable growth and socio-economic development to address poverty and wealth creation in our society without compromise to the nation’s human and social security.
He stressed that the Ministry has embarked on strategic reforms to ensure that mineral development brings the expected benefits. Such reforms according to him revolves around providing good governance and fiscal integrity for a shared mining prosperity.
‘While we remain focused on attracting private sector investment into the Nigerian mining industry, we also remain focused on ensuring that Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues are not compromised no matter the challenges,’ he said.
‘In delivering our ambition, my ministry is embarking on the following thematic framework, all tailored at providing good practice in resource management: strengthening critical sector institutions to deliver quality services to industry participants; advancing Geoscience Data Information.
‘We are fostering application of digital processes in the governance of the sector; advancing the formalization of informal mining operations in Nigeria; skills building for employment and sustainable livelihood; improving the environmental impact as well as elected strategic minerals for government intervention.’
He called for synergy from all stakeholders to make the ministry a major cash cow for the country even at this critical period of global pandemic and its attendant drop in oil price.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu, who spoke on, “Promoting Good Governance and Fiscal Justice in the mining sector”, said transparency is needed, hence ‘not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done’, hence the need for Nigerians especially the mining host communities to see and feel the real impact of government.
The Executive Director charged the Minister to prosecute every projects in the pipe line, intensify efforts on ongoing reforms and ensure that the sector is resuscitated.
‘We want the ministry to invigorate the solid mineral sector by strengthening institutions, engaging strategic partners, create enabling environment and boost knowledge based of every stakeholders.’
Baiyewu tasks the Ministry to look into the audit report from Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on solid mineral resources especially in the area of revenue, internal control, management and administration among others.
She added that Nigerians expect the Ministry to maximise the world bank assistance (MInDiver) project to revive the sector as it was in the first republic. She called on everyone (corporates) on whose shoulders rest the onus to take actions in diverse ways to do so in the interest of citizens.
‘Following the fall in oil price and other radical changes in the globe, we call on all concerned persons to begin to take neccessary actions imperative for the development of solid mineral sector and others to save the lives of the host communities because we are made to ameliorate the plight of the people and not to aggravate it,’ she maintained.