Ajaokuta, Itakpe concession to generate revenue for Nigeria, says Fayemi

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Dr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development says Ajaokuta and Itakpe modification concession will form the proposed economic resources corridor for Nigeria.

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Fayemi announced this during a two day workshop on Policy and Capacity Building for a Successful and Sustainable Mining Sector, on Monday in Abuja.

The workshop was organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Australian High Commission.

The Minister, who was represented by Alhaji Mohammed Abbas, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to ensure that the mining sector yield income for the nation.

“Recently, we recorded significant development in the sector which included the activation of 0.5 per cent mining sector component of natural resources fund.

According to him, this has necessitated the Federal Government to approve N30 billion intervention fund for the sector,’’ he said.

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He said that the present administration had a focus in diversifying the nation’s revenue base from over dependence on crude oil, which historically has been her mainstay to mining and agriculture.

According to him, minerals and mining sector is still largely underdeveloped in spite its glorious past abundance and mineral resources for development.

“These minerals, broadly categorised as industrial, energy, metallic ore, construction and precious stones minerals have huge potentials of transforming every facets of the Nigerian economy if duly harnessed, he said.

He explained that there was reduction in focus and leverage of key stakeholders’ attention for the sector, such as resources, talent and partnership.

The minister said that the ministry’s organisational design needed refinement to ensure clear enforcement of the mineral mining act 2007 as well as associated regulations.

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“We are focused on creating a true career path for mining specialists and regulators to ensure that the required knowledge and priorities are on the table.’’

He said that Nigeria and Australia had a longstanding history of commercial, cultural and diplomatic link built up over the course of the years.

Fayemi said the two countries had in 2012 signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering political economic, commercial, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation.

“Only recently did an Australian-owned Nigerian mining company declared the discovery of high-grade nickel in a part of Nigeria.

“Both countries are active members of the Commonwealth with numerous high level of cooperation on regional, global and geostrategic significance.’’

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Also, Mr Paul Lehmann, Australian Ambassador to Nigeria said the workshop would help Nigeria to build a sustainable mining industry and to learn from the success recorded by Australia in mining industry.

According to Lehmann, the workshop will also demonstrate what Australian and Nigeria can do together to achieve a common goal for the growth of the Nigeria mining sector.

NAN reports that in 2014, Western Australia collected 6.8billion dollar as mining royalties; Iron ore and petroleum contributed 76 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

Royalties are payable on all minerals and hydrocarbon production; Australian royalties are government revenue used for education, health, roads, law enforcement, community development programmes among others.

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