By Bennett Oghifo
President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration opted for homegrown solutions, in collaboration with professional bodies and associations, to arrive at its policies in the mineral and energy sectors.
The president stated this at the opening ceremony of the 56th annual international conference and exhibition of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), at the University of Ibadan International Conference Center, Ibadan, Oyo State, recently. Conference theme is Responsible Exploration and Exploitation of Mineral Resources in a Secured Environment.
President Buhari said his presence and association with the NMGS should be understood from the standpoint of his Administration’s commitment to inclusive engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the development of the country. “My Administration, since assumption of office, has reiterated the need to have the Nigerian professional bodies engaged as partners in developing the Nigeria of our choice, where poverty and backwardness in all sphere of the Nigerian lives will be more of an exemption rather than the norm. This is because we believe as an administration, that no other persons will build a better nation for us than ourselves.”
He said, “In shaping the policies and initiatives in these sectors, the administration had generously received massive technical support from the professional societies and associations making the policies indeed to be homegrown solutions rather than those imposed on us.
“The development of the Roadmap for the Mineral Sector would not have been possible without the active collaboration of the NMGS and its members who assisted in getting critical details of the Roadmap developed and the sustained implementation since it was launched. The Roadmap provided a clear pathway for the development of a robust, resilient and sustainable mineral sector of the economy that contributes meaningfully to the nation’s GDP and most importantly provides jobs for the teeming army of the unemployed in the country.
“The centrality of the development of the mineral and energy sectors in the rejigging of the nation’s economy had necessitated the roll-out of series of policy initiatives aimed at not only revamping the Nigerian economy but to ensure that the economic growth arising therefrom are inclusive and sustainable. “This means that we are not only interested in the macro-economic growth alone but in getting the growth to be felt by the most vulnerable groups of our citizens, who are usually left behind by the conventional economic models.”
The 30th President NMGS Engr. Obadiah Simon Nkom, expressed excitement with “the renewed vigour with which the governments in Nigeria at all levels are pursuing policies and programmes in the Mineral and Agricultural sectors. These two sectors have been globally acclaimed as huge job creators and can conveniently absorb more than 70 % of the vast army of the unemployed if fully developed.”
He said the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society “is glad to note that the development of the Nigerian Mineral Sector is on the right tract. The sustained energy devoted to the implementation of the Road Map for the industry remains a thing that gladdens our heart as a Society. The fruits from the implementation of this Road Map are gradually becoming manifest in the various initiatives that have emerged and the attraction of the right interest and resources to the sector. The NMGS remains a willing and ready partner with the government at seeing the deepening and sustenance of the current resurgence in the sector.
The members of the NMGS are currently professionally involved in the National Integration Mining Project (NIMEP) being supervised by the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI), the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and the Bitumen Utilisation Project. The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development also established Artisanal Mining Clusters in Bauchi, Kogi, Ebonyi and Cross River States to provide extension services and opportunity for the easy off-taking of the mined minerals in a structured manner. These programmes have energised the sector at a level never experienced in the last 30 years in Nigeria.