President Muhammadu Buhari’s minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has inaugurated inaugurated the board of Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF).
The board was inaugurated after their appointment by the president with Fayemi stressing that the approval is a clear indication of the administration’s commitment to fixing the Nigerian mining sector to become a key contributor to the economy.
The minister stated in his remark at the inauguration ceremony held at the ministry’s conference hall that the inauguration of the board marked an important milestone in the efforts of the present government in repositioning of the Nigerian mining sector.
“As the administration marks two years in office, we are pleased that these successes are being recorded during our stewardship of this sector, and under the direction of Mr President,” Fayemi said.
The minister stated that the mandate of the board in addition to the mandate of the SMDF include the restructuring and operationalisation of the SMDF by designing the appropriate governance structure, organisation, strategies and operations for effective management, to promote the establishment of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) facilitator Fund and work with investors to establish its governance and financial structure.
The appointed include: Alhaji Uba Saida Malami (chairman), Demola Gbedegesin (member), Prince Theo Iseghohi (member), Eze Samuel Ogbu (member), Hajia Fatima Shinkafi (secretary and head of secretariat), Dr Uwatt Bassey Uwatt representing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Mrs Yinka Mubarak representing Bankers Committee Fayemi said that the “competent team of seasoned professionals” would inspire confidence and trust from other stakeholders they would be working with.
“Their wealth of experience and networks would be brought to bear on this job towards achieving the desired results. “We are pleased that this administration’s strategic focus on the mining sector is being justified by the very strong sectoral performance that is now being recorded,” he said noting that efforts of the present administration in repositioning the mining sector had started to yield dividends.
He said this was evident in the latest report by the National Board of Statistics (NBS) which indicated a positive growth in the sector.
“The first quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicates: ‘Coal mining; Metal Ores; and Quarrying and other metals; grew strongly by 2.03%, 40.79% and 52.54% respectively’. “There is however a lot more grounds to cover.
In the FGN’s recently launched ‘Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020)’, the minerals and metals sector was duly recognised as one of those to drive Nigeria’s recovery.
The document projected to grow sectoral contribution to GDP from N103 billion (2015) to N141 billion in 2020, at an average annual growth rate of 8.54 percent.
“Other targets for the sector include the facilitation of coal to power plants to contribute to our energy mix towards bridging our energy deficits.
“The strategy document which is very much in sync with the sector’s Roadmap, also aims to produce geological maps of the entire country by 2020 on a scale of 1:100,000; as well as integrate artisanal miners into the formal sector,” he said.
Malami, on behalf of the board members, accepted the responsibility with all humility. “He assured that the board will focus their energy to pursue speedy establishment of the SMDF to achieve federal government strategy in the sector as enshrined in the economic and growth plan of 2017-2020,” he said.
Alhaji Malami pledged that the board would develop a quick strategic working plan with schedules and time line to guide their activities.