By Samaila Chafe
Nigeria has approved N30 billion Intervention Fund for exploration, research and development of the nation’s solid mineral and mining sector.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the fund would come from 1.68 per cent of the Federation Account.
He said that the money would be deployed for the development of the sector in partnership with tertiary educational institutions in the country.
“You will recall that in August, FEC approved the roadmap for the growth and development of the mining sector.
“In recognition of Mr President’s campaign promises to Nigerians and also in particular his consistent statement to diversification particularly in agriculture and mining sector, Council today ratified the approval of N30 billion intervention fund for the mining sector.”
“You have heard all sorts of talks about how rich Nigeria is in mineral resources but the quantity, quality, the geological prospect has been a challenge because we have neglected the sector for such a long time,’’ he said.
Fayemi explained that the council looked at strategies other countries adopted to arrive at international best practices.
He stressed that there was need for investment in grade geological data “if Nigeria must attract mining investment into the country;;.
Similarly, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that the Council approved International Advisers that would negotiate with General Electric, the plan to concession the 3,500 kilometres railway narrow gauge in Nigeria.
“What we just did today, is to approve the International Advisers who will then sit with the GE (General Electric) as our own experts to do the negotiation.
“As you are aware, the narrow gauge railway, will to a great extent, assist the agriculture, mines and steel development ministries in the transportation of the extracted minerals.(NAN)