The Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development Arc Olamilekan Adegbite has disclosed that the creation of gemstone market will ensure the diversification of the National Economic base of Nigeria.
The Minister disclosed this at the Commissioning of the Ultramodern International Gemstone Market Ojoo, Akinyele Local Government Area Ibadan, Oyo State on Thursday 4th May,2023.
He pointed out that Ministry of Mines and Steel Development had designed six strategic ASM Cluster Projects in the six geopolitical zones as a means to harness the potentials of the over three (3) million Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining operators in the country, and the creation of International Gemstone Market in Ibadan for the Southwest Zone is one of such projects.
He further revealed that the Commissioning of the project is an opportunity to highlight the efforts of the administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to open some of the potentials available in the Mining Sector to serve as alternative revenue source.
According to the Honourable Minister “the landmark projects are to create an enabling environment to support the Mining Industry through the formalization of the ASM Sub-sector as a major driver of the key growth parameters to engender the development of the Mining Sector since over 90% of the Mining activities in the country could safely be said to be ASM driven.”
He further noted that some of the notable envisaged outcomes from the International Gemstone Market includes but not limited to the creation of over 20,000 jobs along the gemstone mining value chain in South-Western Zone cluster; Improved revenue generation from ASM subsector for both operators and government; Increased number of ASM operators that are inventoried, formalized, and receiving technical assistance; emergence of subsidiary and service-oriented companies which will further boost economic activities; Improved infrastructure for the benefits of the miners and other surrounding economic actors respectively.
The Minister said that the International Gemstone Market is designed to be a One-Stop-Shop for Local and International Gemstone and Gold Merchants with facilities to test, certify, document and effect necessary payments for royalties and processing fees required to support direct international travels.
He added that the newly commissioned facility houses over 30 stalls, a banking hall, MMSD office, stable power supply to enable seamless transactions and value addition and lapidary and gemological equipment are provided for training on gemstone faceting and cutting.
He also remarked that the Ministry of Mines and Steel under his leadership and that of Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, as a matter of Strategy, prioritized the ASM to stem incessant illegalities that have fraught the subsector in Nigeria by initiating and supporting biometric data capturing of all registered artisanal and small-scale miners across the country under the formalization and mainstreaming of ASM operators.
He revealed the creation of an ecosystem will minimize the high rate of illegal mining and smuggling, increase Government’s revenue from the resource, create jobs, and improve environmental and social stewardship.
He applauded His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR for approving the release of funds for the implementation of the project, the Vice President, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who coordinated the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) aimed at cushioning the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, under whose purview, the ASM Cluster Project was conceived and approved. He also expressed appreciation for the support of Oyo State Government towards the realization of the project.
Arc. Adegbite also acknowledged the support of international organizations such as the World Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Development Programme, Global Environment Facility and the support of the government of Canada, Australia and others towards addressing the ASM issues in Nigeria.
Also speaking during the Commissioning, the Executive Governor of Oyo State Mr. Seyi Makinde, ably represented by the State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Barr Temilola Seun Ashamu remarked that Solid Mineral is a Sector where value can be derived from the existing comparative advantages to grow the economy and improve the GDP of Nigeria.
The Governor said it will lead to job creation among Nigerian youths and the labour force that is searching and ready for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Present at the Commissioning were stakeholders in the Mining Sector, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, Miners Association of Nigeria, Women in Mining and many others.