Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has entered into an agreement with the Gemological Institute of Nigeria (GIN), to design and implement a strategy for the development of Jewellery and Gemstone in Nigeria.
The Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver), Mr Linus Adie, said the move was aimed at developing a sustainable master plan that would help in poverty alleviation, job and wealth creation, through the development of a vibrant jewellery and gemstone industry.
He noted that the MinDiver would commence the process by embarking on huge sensitisation for cooperation from everyone in the industry since Nigeria has the population, hence a huge market if the industry is properly harnessed.
Adie, while speaking during the event recently in Abuja, stressed that part of the design would hinge on the expansion of the local market, skill acquisition and training of artisans; specifically, to cater for the yearnings of the Nigerian market.
According to him, “In the long run, Nigeria is looking at developing a template like that of India, Srilanka and Germany where in a jewellery or gemstone workshop there is a one stop shop where someone does design, another cutting, and someone else is involved in crafting etc in one location.”
He said jewellery production contributes hugely to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of these nations, which according to him, was the path to follow for Nigeria.
The Project Coordinator also said one of the components of the development plan was to conduct vocational training for artisans in the business across the country.
He maintained that such would create skilled artisans who would not only produce jewelleries, but would in turn create wealth, jobs and alleviate poverty.
In his comment, the Senior Consultant of the Germany-based Project Consult, and member of GFA Consulting Group, Heinz-Josef Seegers, said the group would come into the industry with experts who have over 15 years’ experience in the industry to help create and expand the market.
An expert in gemstone and jewellery/object design, Professor Theo Smeets, of Trier University of Applied Sciences in Germany, said the training to be organised for the artisans, would principally target helping them to, in the long run, earn a living from the craft.