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Mining, Agriculture pushed Nigeria out of recession, says Minister

Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, on Thursday identified agriculture and mining as the critical sectors that pushed Nigeria out of recession.

Fayemi made the observation at the Ministerial Session of the three-day maiden edition of National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development in Abuja.

He said that the efforts of the current administration had started yielding the desired results.

“I can tell you we (Federal Executive Council) met on Wednesday and we reviewed the figures that pushed the country out of recession.

“It is clear to us from those figures that agriculture and mining are the drivers of our progress out of recession,’’ he said.

Fayemi said he remained focued on working with stakeholders to deliver on all the provisions in the Sector’s Growth Roadmap.

He said that the efforts of the administration in collaboration with stakeholders had started yielding the desired results.

“For example, one highlight of the roadmap is to achieve, through stakeholders’ engagement, an increasing amount of mining contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Also, to increase the delivery of shared prosperity to all stakeholders of the mining Value Chain (Exploration, Mining, Beneficiation and Trade).

“Already, we have achieved a 300 per cent increase in revenue (royalties and fees) between 2015 and 2016.

“As at July, the sector had already surpassed the entire revenue of N2 billion generated for the whole 2016,’’ the minister said.

Fayemi promised that Nigeria’s mineral resource endowments would be optimally exploited for the benefit of the country through the collaborative governance of the government and communities at all levels.

In his goodwill message, the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Shehuri, said that a good network of roads had played a role in accessing and transportation of minerals from mining sites.

Shehuri said that the ministry had resolved to increase power supply from 6,000 megawatts to 20,000 megawatts by 2020.

“We are assiduously working towards getting the right energy mix for Nigeria.

“We are going into solar, wind, nuclear, waste to energy-powered plants, in addition to the existing hydropower, gas and fossil fuel driven plants,’’ the minster said.

Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi said the mining sector had suffered neglect for years because of the focus on crude oil.

For over 20 years, he said, the Federal Government had invested no less than 10 billion dollars yearly in the development of petroleum resources.

“It is only now that I hear the minister of mining talking about figures to be generated close 200 to 300 million dollars.

“I think once we review the performance of the mining sector, the closest to us is Ghana, where in 2016 it produced 90 tonnes of gold, which is about seven billion dollars.

“The seven billion dollars is 50 per cent of our earning from oil and yet we know of many states, including Kebbi, that have been producing gold.

The governor called for increased financing of development in the mining sector.

The theme of the three-day meeting is  “Enhancing Mineral Resources Governance Towards Economic Growth and Diversification.”

(Source: NAN)

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