Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, has unveiled 38 surveillance vehicles bought for mines Officers across the 36 States and valued at about N322 million.
It also hinted that it has also secured $150 million (N45.7 billion) support from the World Bank for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MSSED or MinDiver) programme.
The Minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in his 2016 End of year ministerial briefing and projections for 2017, held in Abuja, also inaugurated the Mining Implementation Strategy Team (MIST). The team is to be chaired by the Chairman, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, Prof. Olugbenga Okunlola and coordinated by the Special Adviser to the Minister on Policy and Strategy Prof. Okey Onyejekwe.
According to Fayemi, “The Ministry is working with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other institutions to assemble a $600 million investment fund for the sector, by first quarter of 2017.
Fayemi while unveiling the surveillance vehicles, said that was the first time the ministry would procure such a large fleet of surveillance vehicles, in a decade and urged the Mines Officers to use the vehicles and other surveillance gadgets to ensure effective inspection of mines activities.
He said the purchase of the vehicles has successfully addressed the challenge of the absence of logistical support for field operations of the technical departments of the Ministry. The progress will result in scaling up the capacity of the departments for effective discharge of their statutory duties and functions.
He revealed also that the ministry has secured some fund for the advancement of the sector. “We have secured support from the World Bank for the funding of $150m Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification ((Economic Diversification MSSED or MinDiver) programme.
“A critical component of the support is to provide technical assistance for the restructuring and operationalisation of the Solid Minerals Development Mining Investment Fund, which would make finance available to ASM operators through development finance, micro-finance and leasing institutions.”
He said, “The fund will also help to bring back on stream previously abandoned proven mining projects like tin ore, iron ore, coal, gold and lead-zinc among others.”
Fayemi said the sector has witnessed some positive developments and productivity in the last one year, including a major improvement in the ministry’s contribution to the Federation Account to about N2 billion n in 2016, up from N700 million in 2015.
The Minster said, beginning from January 2017, he expects to start seeing the positive impact of the investment in terms of increased revenue generation, reduction in number of illegal mining incidences, fewer cases of conflicts arising from mining activities, and timely rendering of periodic reports of mining activities from respective field stations.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari in a vote of thanks commended Fayemi for the passion shown for the mining industry, the National Assembly for their understanding and cooperation for the industry, the security agencies for their cooperation and all stakeholders especially the international partners, agencies and the Media for their support.
The Wedding Party Makes History
After a record-breaking opening weekend at N36 million, Elfike Collective’s The Wedding Party now holds the biggest opening week in the history of Nollywood at N66 million. Thus, the romcom, which tells the story of Dunni Coker (Adesua Etomi), a 24-year-old gallery owner and only daughter of her parents about to marry the love of her life, IT entrepreneur Dozie (Banky W), has redefined box office records in the Nigerian Film Industry.
The Wedding Party made a recent foray into the theatres with sold-out preview screenings. This makes the film the biggest opening weekend film of the year, ahead of A Trip to Jamaica and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, according to the Executive Producer & C.O.O FilmOne Distribution, Moses Babatope enthused. The Elfike Film Collective production is indeed a first of its kind initiative designed to raise the bar in African storytelling through unrivalled technical achievement in filmmaking and creative media arts. The collective is a collaboration of Africa’s leading powerhouses – EbonyLife Films, FilmOne Distribution, Inkblot Productions and Koga Studios.