From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

The Federal Government, in line with the Buhari’s administration’s effort to diversify the Nigerian economy through the non-oil sector, has said it will October 28 launch Made in Nigeria Barite in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, made this disclosure at a pre-event briefing in Abuja on Monday.

Adegbite stated that the project will save the country from $300 million annually spent on the importation of Barite and create more job opportunities.

He explained that the launch of the Made in Nigeria Barite, which has been refined to meet the American Petroleum Institute specification, shows the Ministry’s determination to ensure that the Downstream Policy of the sector is actualised.

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‘No country ever developed by selling its raw materials; Nigeria will generate more economic value by processing its raw materials,’ he said.

The minister disclosed that to ensure continuity, it will commission an open marketplace portal that will link all stakeholders along the Barite Value Chain, stating that the portal would encourage miners as they can now compete internationally.

In his remarks, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, noted that this fit would create great development opportunities for the miners as well as create employment in the country.

Dr Ogah reiterated the Ministry’s resolve to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s mandate to move the economy from oil to mining and agriculture is achieved.

In her address, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, commended the Ministers for their leadership that has crystallised into a successful launch of the Made in Nigeria Barite.