Mining, a priority sector to FG, says Osinbajo

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has restated the commitment of the Federal Government to diversify and grow the economy through the mining sector, saying that growth currently being recorded in the sector is an indication that government is on the right path.
Speaking, while declaring open the inaugural National Mining Summit in Abuja, on Tuesday, the Acting President said that creating an enabling environment remained the central element of the government’s economic goal, adding that government would strive to sustain the current growth in the mining sector and other sectors of the economy by creating enabling environment.
Osinbajo also said that government would work with other African countries to achieve its target economic growth.
The Acting President, who spoke to an august audience comprising Ministers of mining and mineral resources from some African countries, Nigerian Ministers, heads of diplomatic missions, investors, exhibitors, mining operators, policy makers and leaders of mining organisations, said government is committed to ensuring that the sector is properly funded to attain its goals.
Specifically, he said the N30 billion intervention fund recently approved for the sector from the National Resource Fund, is to assist the mining operators have access to grants, just as the N600 million being packaged for the sector by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
He said with more support and the right environment, the mining sector would be able to contribute more to the GDP as government envisaged that investment in the  sector would have reached $27 billion by 2025.
Earlier in his welcome address, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said one of the priority goals of the government is to position the Mining sector to play a greater role in sustainably diversifying our country’s revenue base, creating jobs, and fast-tracking industrialisation.
Fayemi said the sector is working towards achieving this goal, stressing that is achievable in view of the abundance of mineral resources.
He said the country would focus on the seven minerals it considered strategic, including Coal, Bitumen, Iron Ore, limestone, barite, gold, lead zinc,  adding that the recently discovered nickel would soon join the list.
The minister said while Nigeria is seen more as an oil and gas nation, the current leadership in the country is working to ensure that it is also known as a mining destination. He added that the country is set to catch up and surpass South Africa in mining exploits.
He said: “We, however, realise that we cannot go very far with our agenda if we do not feature strongly in the reckoning of the international mining community as a serious mining destination. We are thus enlisting critical stakeholders domestically and globally as enablers of our vision, while providing the conditions for the creation of shared value for all stakeholders and participants in our jurisdiction.
“Similarly, most countries in the West-African sub-region have since developed country-level strategies, and we have reports of the achievements that are already being recorded under the stewardship of my ministerial counterparts. The AMV prescribes integrating mining into industrial and trade policy at regional level, and encouraging collaboration and healthy competition amongst countries.
“We, therefore, consider it important to have a platform for bringing stakeholders in the sub-region together, to share ideas and compare notes on how to collaborate in making our resources work for our people. Asides sharing similar geological formations, we have similar aspirations and face comparable challenges, which make it imperative for us to work together.”
“This is why our ministry has partnered with Afrocet Montgomery, working with Deloitte, to host CONMIN West Africa, in demonstration of our commitment to signalling the renaissance of our mining sector, and to naturally take the lead in driving the achievement of the objectives of the AMV, collectively and at country level. It is our vision to use this annual conference as a platform to place Nigeria prominently in the international mining calendar, and beneficially attract greater attention to our country and sub-region”, Fayemi added.
Earlier, there were goodwill messages from President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr  Marcel Alain de Souza , (represented by Dr Morlaye Bangoura , Commissioner for Energy and Mines, ECOWAS) the South African Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr. Joseph Mosebenzi Zwane; Ivorien Minister of Industry and Mining, Mr Jean Claude Brou; Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria , Mr Paul Lehman and the Director General Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr Oscar Onyeama.
In his address, Regional Director, Afrocet Montgomery, Mr George Pearson, who ;auded the success of the inaugural summit, said 43 regional and international organisations are participating in the exhibition, a major feature of the summit.
“As organisers we now want to build on this first event, working with relevant stakeholders with the common ail of establishing ConMin west Africa as a leading world-class platform for all participants in the construction , infrastructure and mining sectors”.
Dignitaries at the opening day included Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu; Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Chief Moses Adeyemo; Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Interior, Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau; Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN); Minister of State for Budget and Planning , Hajia Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari, Head of the Federal Civil Service, Mrs Winifred Eyo-Ita; DG of NSE, Mr Oscar Onyeama, Prof Gbenga Okunlola, President Geology Society of Africa and Alhaji Shehu Sani, President, Miners Association of Nigeria.
Also in attendance were Ministers of Mining and Minerals from Africa, including Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane (South Africa); John Peter Amewu (Ghana); Hon Dan Kazungu (Kenya); Hassane Baraze Moussa (Niger) and Mr Jean Claud Brou (Cote d’Voire).