Determined to maximise supports of international bodies and foreign governments in ensuring sustainable growth in the mining and mineral sector, the Federal Government at the weekend inaugurated the Development Partner and Donor Agencies Coordination Group on Mining.
The forum would serve as a platform where development partners and donor agencies meet to review, coordinate and synergise their programs with the aim of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of assistance provided to the mining sector.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who inaugurated the group at a meeting in Abuja, said government was doing a lot to restore the country’s lost glory in the minerals and mining sector.
This he said means more than simply re-enacting the past. “It involves improving governance, transparency and accountability, building an investor-friendly regulatory environment, making the sector more inclusive for artisanal miners and women, and so much more.”
Dr Fayemi said government is driving a public sector-enabled and private sector-led mineral sector transformation and look forward to the support of the development community in achieving the set goals.
At the meeting were representatives of international organisations and donor agencies, including the World Bank, the Department for International Development (DFID), Ford Foundation, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Medecin San Frontieres (MSF), Australian and Canadian governments.
The Minister presented the mining Roadmap to the international partners and donor agencies, saying that the document was designed as a guide to return the mining sector back to its pride of place and ensure growth and development of the minerals industry.
Fayemi said the Roadmap was both consultative and inclusive in order to meet the mandate and secure the greatest benefits of Nigeria and its citizens. The document, he pointed out is aimed at tackling inherent challenges in the sector and repositioning the country for a self-sustained inclusive growth.
“This is with the goal of raising mining’s overall direct contribution to GDP from 0.34 per cent in 2015 to over 3 per cent in the next ten years. Attaining this goal is in line with the Nigerian government’s vision to develop a well diversified economy and reduce the over-reliance on crude oil through agriculture and mining”.
“I should emphasise that we have domesticated the provisions of the African Mining Vision (AMV) adopted in February 2009 during the African Union Summit in the roadmap” he said.
Dr. Fayemi highlighted the on going policy reforms and achievements as well as the efforts made so far towards implementing the roadmap.
He disclosed that as the number of partners and agencies willing to support the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development continues to increase, there was need for a Development Partners and Donor Agencies Coordination Group on Mining, saying the establishment of the body is not new in the country or in development community.
“This should be a forum where partners and agencies meet to review, coordinate and synergise their programs with the aim of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of assistance provided to the sector” he said.
The Minister further stated that the launching of the group will chart ways towards accelerating implementation of the roadmap and invariably the needed impact of mining on the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
Aside the international bodies, the Minister said the ministry is also working in collaboration with some sister ministries notably Ministry of Budget and Planning, Ministry of Transport; Ministry of Power Works and Housing (on infrastructure), Ministries of Agriculture and Water Resources (on agro minerals).
Others are Ministry of Finance, the Central bank of Nigeria and State governments.
The Regional Director for ECOWAS and Representative, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Regional Office, Nigeria, Dr. Jean B. Bakole in his presentation, stated that UNIDO was already working with the Ministry in the drive for sectorial growth and diversification of the Nigerian economy.
According to him the agency has a country programme which symbolises UNIDO’S partnership with the Nigerian government and is in the process of formalising a new country programme and mining has been identified as one of the key areas to partner with the government.
He reaffirmed UNIDO’s commitment towards working closely with the Ministry, State governments and other partners in the sector.
Presentations were also made by UNDP, African Development Bank (AfDB), Medecin San Frontieres, as well as representatives of some foreign governments.