Ministry generates over N9 billion from solid minerals in 34 months

Ministry generates over N9 billion from solid minerals in 34 months
Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari

The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has generated more than N9 billion from November 2015 till date.

Alhaji Abubakar Bwari, the Minister of State disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

Bwari said that the ministry generated N351,882,084.26 from November to December in 2015, N2,864,903,426.32 in 2016, N3,925,028,183.90 in 2017 and N2,060,441,736. 62 in 2018.

He said: “When Dr Kayode Fayemi and I assumed duty in November 2015, we set an agenda to move the sector forward in line with President Muhammadu Buhari diversification plan and to boost the revenue of the ministry,” he said.

On success made by the sector through its budgetary allocation, he said that tremendous improvement had been recorded by the sector in the past two years.

NAN recalls that in 2015, the capital appropriated for the ministry was N704 million and the amount released was N302 million.

In 2016, N2.6 billion was appropriated and what was released to the sector was N917 million.

In 2017, N6,48 billion was appropriated for the ministry but N3.24 billion was released to the sector.

He said that the ministry’s budget for 2017 was able to meet some of its needs, adding that it could conveniently provide logistics to its officers across the country.

He said: “We can now give our officers money to monitor activities at all mine sites across the country from our budget, unlike in the past when the ministry’s budget was grossly inadequate.

“The ministry also purchased vehicles for its officers across the country as well as surveillance taskforce to monitor illegal miners and mineral’s smugglers among others.”

Bwari said that the ministry has concluded arrangements to disburse another N70 million to some universities to conduct Research and Development of minerals deposits across the country.

NAN reports that the fund being disbursed to some universities is the second batch of the programme.

In July, the minister disbursed N84 million to11 universities to conduct research and development of minerals deposits in Nigeria.

The universities were required to conduct research and development in various areas relating to mapping and evaluation of particular mineral deposits in Nigeria.

The 11 universities that benefitted from the fund in the first batch were, Obafemi Awolowo University, Federal University of Technology, Minna, and the University of Nigeria, Nsuka.

Others include: Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Ibrahim Badamasi Babagida University, Niger, University of Port Harcourt, University of Jos, University of Lagos, Nasarawa State University, University of Ibadan and Ebonyi State University.

According to Bwari, the fund will be given based on merit to some selected universities that present good research proposal, which is in line with the mining roadmap.

He said that the ministry would soon advertise for interested universities to submit their proposals for evaluation.

He said: “The exercise is aimed at increasing the fountain of geosciences data required by mining investors, impact on students and lecturers that would be involved in the fieldwork.

“It also aimed at improving the quality of learning in tertiary institutions.”

On the N30 billion mining intervention fund approved by the Federal Executive Council in November 2016 for mining exploration, he said the sector has been able to access N15 billion from the fund.

Bwari said that the N30 billion was meant to majorly focus on exploration of minerals and other activities in the sector.

According to him, the ministry is expecting a release of five billion naira from the remaining balance from the N30 billion soon.

He said with the release of the fund, the ministry would be awarding some contracts for exploration of strategic minerals in the country.

The fund was drawn from the Natural Resource Development Fund to the ministry as intervention fund to focus on exploration, which is the heart of mining.

The natural resource fund is meant primarily for agriculture, mining and the water resources sector.

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