THE Minister of Mines and Steel Development and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Wednesday, officially tendered his resignation letter to enable him to focus on his ambition.
His exit, according to him, followed the acceptance of his resignation by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, to allow him to pursue other political interests.
Addressing newsmen at the valedictory ministerial briefing in his office in Abuja, the minister said he had a deep sense of pride about his contributions to the landmark achievements he was able to achieve in the sector and he was thus transitioning out with his head held high.
He stated that he was overwhelmed by emotions as he bid goodbye to a sector that he, alongside other patriots, have invested a great deal of passionate and patriotic efforts over the past two years.
It will be recalled that Dr Fayemi was appointed alongside other ministers by President Buhari, on November 11, 2015.
Dr Fayemi said the period of his stewardship in the ministry has been strategic as it coincided with this administration’s determination to reposition the Minerals and Metals Sector to serve as a frontier of economic diversification, the creation of jobs and the broadening of the range of economic opportunities available to Nigerians.
He further explained that the overall goal has been to ensure the sector contributes optimally to the building of a strong and virile economy that supports the nation’s human development goals.
The minister said to enhance the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the ministry and her agencies, the ministry secured the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to execute critical projects and programmes, which include procurement of 12 No. 4-wheel drive vehicles by ministry to monitor mining activities in remote areas of the country to ensure compliance of the rules and regulations of the mining environment; procurement of 2 No. drilling rigs for National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency Kaduna to enhance its operational capacity and expansion of research activities on steel and other important minerals and establishment of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development to create a forum for periodically brainstorming with stakeholders in the mining sector value chain on policy matters with a view to improving on the cooperative governance of the sector.
Others, according to him, were development of IT integrated Automation and interactive Web portal for the ministry to create One Stop Shop online interface for investors and other players in the sector to obtain data on a broad range of subjects about our jurisdiction, and process a number of key applications from anywhere in the world and approval and procurement 2 No Drilling Rigs for Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) in 2017 Budget.
He explained that the project was to enhance the agency’s capability in its field work to determine the mineral occurrence, quantity and quality for geological data; approved, anchor and monitor the promotion of a strong mining stakeholder engagement between States, Federal, Civil Societies, Operators, Industry players along the entire Mining Value Chain.
Hitherto, the minister said the absence of this concept had greatly affected the ministry’s aspiration in promoting the mining sector governance which was an important part of the provisions of the African Mining Vision.
This, he said was to encourage the engagement of stakeholders, especially the State Government for the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to have a stake in mining activities; launched a N5 billion fund (made up of N2.5 billion by SMDF & a counterpart fund of N2.5 billion by Bank of Industry) to provide single digit interest loans to Artisanal and Small & Medium scale miners and secured, through the Federal Government, a $150million loan from the World Bank to commence the Mineral Diversification (MinDiver) project aimed at funding strategic interventions in the Sector.
He said other projects and programmes completed under his administration were the re-activation of the Mineral Resource and Environmental Management Committees (MIREMCO) in 20 states, while ten states have so far been mobilized with take-off grants and operational vehicles.
“Establishing and equipping the Mines Environmental Analytical Laboratory in the ministry to enhance a reliable data collection from mines field for compliance monitoring and maintenance of data bank; procured 40 field vehicles for the Presidential Special Mines Surveillance Task Force to monitor illegal mining activities; operationalized several existing MoUs and a number of new ones between the Federal Government and other countries like the Republic of South Africa, the Peoples Republic of China, etc. Provisions of such MoUs include partnerships on Capacity Building, Knowledge Exchange, Improvement of Geological Prospectively, etc.
“The ministry sought for and obtained approval for N30bn (approx. $100m) intervention fund from the Federal Government, partly to help provide cheap loans and grants to industry participants as well as for directly investing in foundation infrastructure. For the first time.
“We have reached an advanced stage in assembling a $600M investment fund for the sector, working with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other financial institutions.” He announced.
Dr Fayemi said the achievements recorded during his stewardship would not have been possible without the conducive and harmonious working relationship that existed within the high-level management of the ministry, as well as the cooperation and understanding that he enjoyed from all stakeholders and players in the sector.