The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved N30 billion intervention fund for mining exploration in the country.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Mining and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, accompanied by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, to State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting
“FEC rectified the president’s anticipatory approval for Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to qualify to access the national resources fund,” Fayemi revealed.
“You will recall that in August FEC approved the road map for the growth and development of the mining sector.
“In recognition of Mr. President’s campaigns promises to Nigerians? and in particular his consistent statement to diversification particularly in agriculture and mining sector, Council ratified the approval of N30 billion intervention fund for the mining sector. It will be highly focused on exploration. Exploration is the heart of mining, if you don’t search you won’t find.
“You have heard all sorts of talks about how rich Nigeria is in mineral resources but the quantity, quality, the geological prospectively has been a challenge because we have neglected the sector for such a long time.
“This is why Council approved this for mining and this is significant because this is the accessing of natural source development fund which has been made 1.68 per cent of the federation account. It is an equivalent of the ecological fund and the Education Trust Fund.
“It is meant primarily for agriculture sector, mining sector and the water resources sector. And this will cover exploration primarily but also research and development in partnership with our universities, it will also cover security and mining in partnership with the ministries of Interior and Defence and the DSS just to tackle the menace of illegal mining across the country. It will also support small scale miners with grants.”
Amaechi disclosed that the FEC also approved advisers, including African finance corporations, to negotiate with General Electric (GE) towards concessioning railway? rehabilitation to encourage movement of cargos and passengers?.
“For the Transport sector I’m sure you are aware of an attempt to concessioned the Railway to General Electric (GE), Council approved the advisers that would sit with GE as our own experts to negotiate,” he said
“The narrow Gauge railway will to a great extent assist the agriculture, mines and steel development ministries in the transportation of the extracted minerals. We are rehabilitating at no cost to government the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, which include Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Gombe, Bauchi to Borno.
“Then Lagos to Kano will include Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, ?Ilorin, Kano, Funtua, Zaria and to Kaura Namoda, we are rehabilitating all of them.
“It is essentially ?to encourage freight movement, we have over 30 million worth of freight on the Lagos Kano route for which presently we are moving slightly above 100 tones. While the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri is currently moving nothing but we are anticipating 11 million tones that can be moved from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“GE is proposing to manage for 25 years? to recover their investments. Nigerian government has not agreed and that is what our advisers will sit with GE to agree.