The Honourable Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Senator Gbemisola Ruquayyah Saraki has disclosed that it is a known fact that Nigeria, with its large population has a huge insatiable appetite for jewelry and it is imperative to create a local jewelry industry that would substantially meet local demands for quality jewelry products, increase import substitution, create jobs and boost the export value of Nigeria’s gemstone and jewelry.

Sen. Saraki made this known on Thursday,13th October 2022 during the graduation ceremony of the second batch of trainees on jewelry making and design at the jewelry Centre, Abuja.

She also said that it is a known fact that Nigeria is abundantly blessed with several varieties of mineral resources some of which include Sapphire, Aquamarine, Beryl, Emerald, Tourmaline, Ruby, Garnet, Amethyst, Zircon amongst others which are located across the country but sadly, are illegally exported out of the country in raw forms. She further disclosed that the government, through the Ministry is working hard to reverse such trend through the provision of the technical know-how and machinery required in cutting, polishing and finishing jewelry in the country. It is against this backdrop that government, through the Ministry embarked on the training for capacity building, and to discourage artisanal and informal miners from selling raw gemstones at ridiculous prices for export to Europe and Asia.

The Honourable Minister of State also congratulated the 20 participants, who were picked from across the country, for successfully completing the Master Training Programme just as she  urged them to work hard to achieve the aim and objectives of the programme as the industry is versatile with a great future in Nigeria, noting that it is her belief that the jewelry industry when fully harnessed could contribute significantly to National Economic Growth by creating massive Job opportunities along its value chain, increase standard of livelihood in communities with the boost of creativity, generate huge export contribution and provide opportunity for import substitution. She also added that in the long run, the Nation will transform from large consumer of foreign jewelry products to high quality local jewelry producers, saving the country the huge foreign exchange expanded on jewelry imports.

Senator Saraki assured the granduands that the Honourable Minister, Arc. Olamilekan has approved, through the Mindiver Project, which is the coordinating Agency, the sustainability plan to empower granduands with equipment to set up and train other Nigerians. The starter packs which will be purchased by the Mindiver Project is aimed at motivating them to be the best ambassadors of their various respective states and the country, while urging them to put the equipment to good use to achieve the purpose.

Earlier in his opening remarks, The Project Coordinator of the Mindiver Project, Engr. Sallim Salaam said that he is happy to be part of the history-making event.

He stated that the policy on value addition has been on the front burner, particularly in the mining sector. Jewelry making is one of the strategies for implementing the policy hence the need for training of interested Nigerians in the sector to help achieve the desired objective.

The Mindiver Project Coordinator also added that due to the commitment demonstrated, and achievements recorded by the first and these second trainees, that the 3rd batch of training has been approved by the Ministry to add value to the gemstone and jewelry-making industry.

He commended the first and second-batch trainees for their cooperation and high level of professional conduct demonstrated throughout the period of the training which resulted in the approval of a third batch, while sincerely thanking the Honourable Ministers and the Permanent Secretary for the kind understanding and approvals of the training. He promised that this crop of trainees will surely make Nigeria proud by adding value to the Nation’s economic development.

While speaking the graduands, through their class representative, Suleiman Ahmed thanked the Ministry for the opportunity given to them and promised to put to use the skills acquired to make the Nation proud by contributing to the GDP of the country.

Also present at the graduation ceremony was the Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director, Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining, Mr. Patrick Ojeka, the Former Project Coordinator Linus Adie, the Deputy Coordinator of the Mindiver project, Mr. Abbah Usman who gave the closing remarks. He thanked the Minister for giving prompt approval for the project while enjoined the trainees to make the Nation proud.