FG to End Spending on Barite Importation, Says Effort Will Lift Foreign Reserve by $300m

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Kasim Sumaina

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite has disclosed that the Made in Nigeria Barite, which is about to be launch this week will shore up the nation’s foreign reserve by about $300 million.

He also said that with the launch, spending billions for importation of barite will stop, stating that government is ready to block all loopholes as the country looses $300 million annually for the importation of the essential commodity into the country.

Barite, a mineral resources consisting of barium sulfates, is generally white or colorless, and is the main source of the element barium used in the oil and gas industry.

The Minister said the efforts will promote Nigerian Barites, boost the economy and ensure steady supply to other African nations like South Africa and Ghana.

As the barite production increases, he said he will seek the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as well as Council of State to decide on the ban and tariff hike on it.

Adegbite, while briefing the press in the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, hinted that the federal government in actualising its mandate to move the economy from dependence on crude oil and grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

The federal government, he added, is set to develop the downstream sector of the petroleum sector by launching the made in Nigeria Barite.

The product, he revealed, has been tested, “and is of high quality. We will be exporting to neighbouring countries like Ghana and South Africa.”

According to him, the launch of the made in Nigeria Barite, which has been refined to meet the American Petroleum Institute specification, shows the ministry’s determination to ensure that the Downstream Policy of the Sector is actualised.

He added that, “no country ever develops by selling raw materials. Nigeria will generate more economic value by processing it’s raw materials.”

He further explained that efforts have been made before now to have a locally milled Barite but government was not carried along.

The process, according to the Minister, collapsed because of the product was not properly bagged.
He noted that to ensure continuity, it will commission an Open Market Place Portal that will link all stakeholders along the Barite Value Chain, stating that the portal would encourage miners as they can now compete internationally.

In his remarks, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, noted that the feat would create great development opportunities for the miners as well as create employment in the country.

Ogah reiterated the ministry’s resolve to ensure that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s mandate to move the economy from oil to Mining and Agriculture is achieved.

In her address, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. (Mrs) Oluwatoyin Akinlade, commended the Ministers for their leadership that has crystallized into a successful launch of the made in Nigeria Barite.