Concerned about fostering sustainable development in the Mineral Sector through proffered pragmatic solutions, which will facilitate the diversification agenda of the Federal Government, FG, for economic growth, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, MMSD has engaged the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and other critical Mining Stakeholders to re-engineer the industry.

While declaring open the maiden edition of the Strategic Engagement held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, with the 774 Local Government Chairmen across the Federation for a sustainable Mining in Nigeria the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, GCON, SAN, said the engagement should lead to production of or the fine tuning of a clear working document that spells out with clarity the roles and responsibilities of the FG, the States, the Local Governments and the Mining communities.

‘It is also expected to help in explaining the regulatory framework to the governments at the community level, where most of the Mining activities take place. It will enable the Ministry and other Stakeholders to get direct feedback from the Local Government Authorities and those who have to deal with these issues daily’.

While commending the Chief Executives of the Ministry, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite and Dr. Uche Ogah for these initiatives, he urged them to approach their role as the regulator and administrator of the nation’s Mines and Metal sector with open mindedness and flexibility, especially, in collaborating with the States and Local Governments. He urged all officers of the Ministry to rededicate themselves to the realization of the set target of a 6% contribution of the Mining Sector to the nation’s GDP by 2025.

In his contributions on the way forward in the industry, he, among other things, suggested that the FG, States and Local Governments should jointly develop working arrangements to ensure that Mining is attractive to investors, profitable for States and Local Governments not just from proceeds, but also from personal income tax paid to States by Mine workers and staff of Mining companies.

Earlier, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in his welcome address at the Strategic Engagement, tagged, “Sustainable Mining in Nigeria: the critical role of local governments for the realisation of economic diversification agenda through the development of the minerals and metal sector”, acknowledged Nigerians potentials in mining and the giant strides made by the present Administration to further develop the sector.

He, among other things, expressed optimism that the forum will create a platform for fruitful deliberation and greater collaboration between the Ministry and Local Government Council to reposition the Nigerian Mining industry through the 2016 Roadmap and enable it become investor friendly for wealth and job creation.

The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr, Kayode Fayemi, in his goodwill message expressed delight at the august workshop, which is indicative of the commitment to national development. He urged the participants to contribute meaningfully and partner with the government towards re-energising the industry at the end of the workshop

The Conference programme also highlighted three presentations. The Dir, Mines Inspectorate – MMSD; Engr Frank Odoom talked on Key provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining act and regulations; Maj. Gen. Babangana Monguno (RTD) looked into Strategic Role of Local Authorities in combating social associated with illegal mining; while the National President , Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, premised on Responsible mining as a catalyst towards socio economic development of local communities.

It also featured two panel Sessions titled “Improved Mining Governance Amongst the 3-tiers of Government” and sustainable Mining in Nigeria – Key Strategy for Economic Diversification and Job Creation. This was followed by a Question and Answer Session.

The virtual Conference had in attendance a total number of 480 persons from across the country. The participants also included State Governors and other critical Stakeholders.

The Permanent Secretary, MMSD, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, while expressing her deep sense of gratitude for the Strategic dialogue said the Ministry was quite fortunate to have a formidable line – up of seasoned minds from different fields, bring their expertise to bear on the issues affecting the Sector, thereby enriching its perspectives.

The Minister of State, MMSD, Dr Uchechukwu Samson Ogah, in his closing remarks noted, among other things, that the aim of the workshop organised by the Ministry was to fulfill the Ministry’s mandate of strengthening partnership with critical Mining Stakeholders such as States and Local Government Chairmen in the country in order to take the Mining industry to the next level.