Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has entered into agreement with the Gemological Institute of Nigeria (GIN), to design and implement a strategy for the development of Jewelry and Gemstone in Nigeria.
Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support For Economic Diversification (MinDiver), Mr Linus Adie, said the move is aimed at developing a sustainable master plan that will help in poverty alleviation, job and wealth creation through the development of a vibrant jewelry and gemstone industry in Nigeria.
He added that, MinDiver will commence the process by embarking on huge sensitisation for cooperation from everyone in the industry since Nigeria has the population – hence a huge market if the industry is properly harnessed.
Adie, while speaking during the event on Thursday in Abuja, stressed that part of the design will hinge on the expansion of the local market, skill acquisition and training of artisans; specifically to cater for the yearnings of the Nigerian market.
According to him, “In the long run, Nigeria is looking at developing a template like that of India, Sri Lanka and Germany where jewelry or gemstone workshop are a one-stop-shop where Services of designing, faceting and crafting are all in same location.”
He said jewelry production contributes hugely to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of these nations which makes it a path to follow for Nigeria.
The Project Coordinator also said, since the plan is to make jewelry making spread to many states in Nigeria, one of the critical components of the development plan is to conduct vocational trainings for artisans across board.
He maintained that such will create skilled artisans who will not only produce jewelries but will in turn create wealth, jobs and alleviate poverty.
He said the Master Trainers will be equipped with quality skill so as to retrain others within the jewelry and gemstone value chain for a robust industry in Nigeria.
Responding, Senior Consultant of Germany based Project Consult, and member of GFA Consulting Group, Heinz-Josef Seegers, said the group will come into the Nigerian jewelry and gemstone industry with high quality jewelry experts who have over 15 years relevant experience in the industry to help create and expand the jewelry making market in the Nigerian.
An expert in gemstone and jewellery/object design, Professor Theo Smeets, of Trier University of Applied Sciences in Germany; said the training to be organised for the artisans will principally target helping them to in the long run earn a living and also contribute to revenue generation
He said the emphasis is less on entrepreneurship but training artisans who will pass on their skills and training to others.
Also present at the meeting were the Directors of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (Chairman) Engr. Patrick Ojeka, Mines Environment Compliance Engr, Sallim Salaam and Mines Inspectorate Engr. frank Odoom.