By CHRIS EKEKE
The minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi has inaugurated the Board of Solid Minerals Development Fund as provided
by Section 34 of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
Members of the Board are Alhaji Uba Saidu Malami (Chairman), Ademola Gbadesin (member) , Prince Theo Iseghohi (member), Samuel Ogbu
Eze(member) Dr Uwatt Bassey Uwatt (Corporate member representing the CBN) and Ms. Yinka Mubarak (Corporate member, representing Bankers Committee), while Hajia Fatima Shinkafi is the Executive Secretary and Head of Secretariat of the SDMF.
Recall that that Dr Fayemi, had in December 2016 said the federal government had approved the release of N30 billion intervention fund for solid minerals development.
Inaugurating the seven-member Board in Abuja , the minister said, “The Board is mandated to intervene in the areas of development of both
human and physical capacity in the sector, fund for geo-scientific data gathering , storage and retrieval to meet the needs of private sector led mining industry, and equip the mining institutions to enable them perform their statutory functions.
Other mandates of the Board, he said included “The funding for extension services of small scale and artisanal miners (ASMs) and provision of infrastructure in mines land.”
He added that in addition to their statutory mandates, the Board is also charged with “Restructuring and operationalization of the SDMF by
designing the appropriate governance structure, promote the establishment of the special Purpose Vehicles facilitator fund and work with investors to establish its governance and financial structure.”
Dr Fayemi stated that the approval of the reconstitution of the Board by President Muhammadu Buhari is a clear indication of his administration’s commitment to fixing the Nigerian mining industry to become a key contributor to achieving its national goals of
diversifying its sovereign revenue base and creating jobs.
He charged members of the Board to “continue negotiations with the Sovereign Investment Authority where they are discussing a $600million
injection into the sector as well as the Stock Exchange where they are discussing the creation of the mining bond in solid minerals.”
The minister added that “The First quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results recently released by the National Bureau of Statistic
indicates that Coal mining, Metal Ores and Quarrying and other metals grew strongly by 2.03%, 0.79% and 52.54% respectively”. He noted that
the strong performance of the mining sector has contributed to the steady recovery of the Nigerian economy which the NBS further reports
have steadily improved in the last three quarters.
Also speaking chairman of the Fund, Alhaji Uba Saidu Mallami said, “There is already a Recovery and Growth Plan that has been put forward
by the federal government; we intend to stick by the rule. And there is a target being set for us for 2020 that we should have mobilized the fund from104 billion to 141billion.
“I think it is actually even a low call, because we intend to be very innovative in the way that we want to move all stakeholders especially that the solid minerals sector has started gearing up into an exciting move,” he said.
He stressed that despite the reports by the NBS there is supposed to be a re-awareness and reawakening on the essence of the solid minerals, noting that there are lots of solid minerals related industries that people don’t seem to realise.
“The cement industry for instance, the richest man in Africa today is a miner, that is how big the industry is and we also do have
historical link to mining as most of our houses in the villages are mud houses, we mine clay to build those houses, most of our roads are
made of laterites, so the solid minerals has been part of our lives and we hope to enhance it and Nigeria has all it takes,” he said.