Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Federal Government has inaugurated the newly-reconstituted Board of Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), even as it approved the appointment of Hajia Fatima Shinkafi as the Executive Secretary, Head of Secretariat.
Inaugurating the Board in Abuja, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Fayemi Kayode, hinted that the approval for the reconstitution of the Board by President Muhammadu Buhari was a clear indication of the administration’s commitment to fixing the Nigerian Mining industry to become a key contributor to achieving national goals of diversifying the sovereign revenue base and creating jobs.
According to Fayemi, â€œMr. President has also approved the appointment of Hajia Fatima Shinkafi as the Executive Secretary and Head of the secretariat of the SMDF.â€
He disclosed that the SMDF was established by Section 34 of the Nigerian Mining and Minerals Act 2007 to address the fundamental challenge of insufficient funding; a problem that has historically undermined the growth potentials of the sector.
â€œWe are pleased that this administrationâ€™s strategic focus on the mining sector is being justified by the strong sectoral performance that is now being recorded.
He said: â€œThe First Quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that coal mining; metal ores; quarrying and other metals grew strongly by 2.03 per cent, 40.79 per cent and 52.54 per cent respectively.â€
He stressed that the strong performance of the mining sector has contributed to the steady recovery of the economy which the NBS further reports have steadily improved in the last three quarters.
â€œAs our administration marks two years in office, we are pleased that these successes are being recorded during our stewardship of this sector, and under the direction of Mr. President.
â€œThere is however a lot more grounds to cover. In the FGNâ€™s recently launched â€˜Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (2017-2020)â€™, the Minerals and Metals sector was duly recognised as one of those to drive Nigeriaâ€™s recovery. The document projected to grow sectoral contribution to GDP from N103 billion (2015) to N141 billion in 2020, at an average annual growth rate of 8.54 per cent.
â€œOther targets for the sector include the facilitation of coal to power plants to contribute to our energy mix towards bridging our energy deficits. The strategy document which is very much in sync with the sectorâ€™s roadmap, also aims to produce geological maps of the entire country by 2020 on a scale of 1:100,000; as well as integrate artisanal miners into the formal sector.
â€œWe remain committed to being guided by our roadmap to achieve greater strides in the sector. It is therefore noteworthy that this inauguration is coming at a time we have commenced the operationalisation of the roadmap as well as the implementation of the World Bank supported Mineral Diversification Project.â€
â€œWe trust the capacities of the new board to deliver on these mandates. In keeping with the law, the membership of the board is carefully drawn from active practitioners in the sector, a representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and a representative of the Bankers Committee.
â€œWe believe we have a competent team of seasoned professionals that would inspire confidence and trust from other stakeholders they would be working with. I have no doubt in my mind that with the pedigree of members of the Board, their wealth of experience and networks would be brought to bear on this job towards achieving the desired results. We therefore count on the patriotic service of the new Board of the SMDF, to play their own part as a crucial enabler in the industry,â€ he added.