The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated the Board of the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), a development that signifies the take-off of the fund for which President Muhammadu Buhari had in December 2016 approved N30bn.
During the inauguration proceedings in Abuja, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the approval of the board by Buhari was a clear indication of the administration’s commitment to fixing the Nigerian mining sector to become a key contributor to the economy.
The minister said: “We are pleased that this administration’s strategic focus on the mining sector is being justified by the very strong sectoral performance that is now being recorded.
“The first quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product results recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that coal mining, metal ores and quarrying and other metals grew strongly by 2.03 per cent, 40.79 per cent and 52.54 per cent, respectively.”
“There is, however, a lot more grounds to cover. In the Federal Government’s recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the minerals and metals sector was duly recognised as one of those to drive Nigeria’s recovery. The document projected to grow the sector’s contribution to the GDP from N103bn in 2015 to N141bn in 2020, at an average annual growth rate of 8.54 per cent.
“Other targets for the sector include the facilitation of coal to power plants to contribute to our energy mix towards bridging our energy deficits. The strategy document, which is very much in sync with the sector’s road map, also aims to produce geological maps of the entire country by 2020 on a scale of 1:100,000; as well as integrate artisanal miners into the formal sector.”
He said the mandate of the board of the SMDF included the restructuring and operationalisation of the fund by designing the appropriate governance structure, organisation, strategies and operations for effective management; to promote the establishment of the Special Purpose Vehicle Facilitator Fund; and work with investors to establish its governance and financial structure.
The minister further said that membership of the board was carefully drawn from active practitioners in the sector.
Also, the Chairman of the Board, Alhaji Uba Malami, promised that the members would focus their energy on pursuing speedy establishment of the SMDF to achieve Federal Government’s strategy in the sector as enshrined in the ERGP.
Other members of the board are Hajia Fatima Shinkafi (secretary and head of secretariat), Mr. Ademola Gbadegesin, Mr. Theo Iseghohi, Mr. Samuel Eze, Dr. Bassey Uwatt (representing the Central Bank of Nigeria) and Yinka Mubarak (representing the Bankers’ Committee).