Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has disclosed that the remarkable improvement in Nigeriaâ€™s ranking in the World Bankâ€™s Ease of Doing Business rating was the fallout of the various reforms by the present administration, including reforms in the mineral and mining sector.
Fayemi, noted that the reforms in the mining sector has helped to reposition the sector as a major revenue earner and has improved the countryâ€™s rating as a mining destination of choice.
The minister disclosed this while speaking at the opening session of a policy and capacity building workshop for senior officials of the ministry, professionals and stakeholders in the mining industry, organised in partnership with the Australian government in Abuja
According to him, “The mining sector was being positioned to contribute optimally to diversifying the Nigeria economy’s revenue base and creating jobs and economic opportunity for the nation as captured in the Roadmap for the growth and development of the mining industry.”
He said the workshop would provide officials of the ministry, and other stakeholders essential knowledge as well a great opportunity to share experiences on both technical and regulatory issues.
Fayemi said that the ministryâ€™s aspirations was to build a world class mineral and mining ecosystem designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market for the mineral sector, further adding that the federal government has demonstrated commitment by collaborating with different stakeholders including government of advanced mining jurisdiction.
The minister noted that the workshop with the theme: â€˜Policy and Capacity Building Workshop for a Successful and Sustainable Mining Sector 2018â€™, was a follow up to the first edition that took place in 2016, which focused on the significance of transparency, legislation, and regulatory framework as well as geoscience and resource information.
Represented at the workshop by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Muazu Abdulkadir, the minister disclosed that miningâ€™s contribution to the countryâ€™s economic growth grew by 0.55% as at 2017.
He said: â€œThe mining sector also grew by 2.24% and achieved a 300% increase in revenue (royalty and fees) between 2015 and 2016, and a steady progress and as at November 2017, the sector had already surpassed the entire revenue of about N2billion generated for the whole of 2016, with over N3.5billion contributed to the federation account. â€œ
â€œWe also excitedly welcomed the news that Nigeria moved up an unprecedented 24 steps in the World Bankâ€™s Ease-of-Doing-Business ranking, and was adjudged one of the 10 top reforming economies. Reforms in the sector and efforts to make the Nigerian jurisdiction more attractive to investors impacted on Nigeriaâ€™s ranking in perception indices in the â€˜World Risk Reportâ€™, published by the Mining Journal, which indicates that Nigeria has made remarkable improvements in both hard risk and perceived risk factors.
â€œThe Nigerian Mining Jurisdiction is now considered to have a better investment risk profile than several other leading jurisdictions, and among the best in Africa.â€
Speaking further, Fayemi said that Nigeria and Australia have a long standing history of commercial, cultural and diplomatic build up link built up over the years. That both countries had in 2012 signed an MoU covering political economic, commercial, Scientific, technical and cultural cooperation.
â€œWe recognise that the imperative of cooperation has never been more urgent as we pursue maximal growth for the sector. The economic fortunes and aspirations of sovereign countries of the world over are now so interconnected and inseparable.
Continuing, he said: “In Nigeria, we consider it imperative to go beyond our borders to engage ever more intensely with the matrix of knowledge, experience and global support. In an interconnected world, no nation can pursue its economic interests as an island.
â€œEssentially, the significance of this workshop is to provide information on leading practice from Australia on building a sustainable mining sector for Nigeria. There is no better time to have this workshop than now, diversification is ongoing and at the heart of the governmentâ€™s agenda.â€