By Oluwafunke Ishola
The Bank of Industry (BoI) and Laurel School of Mines, Ogudu, Lagos, on Monday signed a pact on capacity building of 1,600 young entrepreneurs, to enable them exploit opportunities in the solid mineral sector.
Mr Waheed Olagunju, Acting Managing Director, BoI, said at the signing ceremony that the partnership would facilitate entrepreneurship and employment in the solid mineral sector.
According to him, the pact will assist the economy move from its monolithic status toward exploiting the nation’s mineral resources for wealth creation and socio-economic development.
He said that the partnership with the school was in line with promoting its Commodity-Based Industrialisation strategy programme of adding value to the nation’s abundant natural resources.
Olagunju said that 1, 600 youths in eight different locations across the country, in four batches of 50 youths per session, would participate in three days of skills acquisition on gemstone development.
He said that the course content would include picking gemstone, adding value and polishing the gemstones.
Mr Tope Adebanjo, Managing Director, Laurel School of Mines, said that the partnership was a paradigm shift toward engaging youths to take over the huge untapped natural gemstone deposit in the country.
He said that the pact would strengthen emergence of young entrepreneurs in the gemstone business, which would abolish the trend of foreigners carting away the nation’s resources for stipends.
According to him, the gemstone industry is worth billions of dollars with Nigeria having huge deposits in Oyo, Kaduna, Kwara, Osun and Kebbi states.
Adebanjo said that there was local and international demand for mineral resources which provide substantial trade and investment opportunities for investors.
He said that the training would expose participants to various stages of mining, expand their knowledge of gemstone markets, and position them for funding and exportation to international partners.