Nigeria partners World Bank on solid minerals development

Kayode Fayemi

The Federal Government has expressed its willingness to continue to partner with the World Bank in the development of the solid minerals sector.

Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this  when he received a team from the World Bank, led by its Country Director, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, in his office on Friday.

Dr Fayemi, together with the Minister of State for Solid Minerals, Abubakar Bwari, at the meeting, acknowledged the support of the financial institution to infrastructure development in the sector through the ministry.

Fayemi who noted that the ministry had a proper regulatory framework in place, however said there was need for additional work to be done in the area of data.

He also hinted on the need to strengthen the informal sector, while also seeking to attract foreign investment.

He said “In order to ensure that the ministry is well positioned to be an enabler, a lot needs to be put in place.  Additional work need to be done on data. We need to know the quantity and quality of the minerals we have.”

“We need to also attract the big players. We need to know why they are not here,” said Fayemi who added that everything must be done to actualise President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to move the sector forward.

Earlier, Benmessaoud , who hailed the excellent relationship between the financial institution and the government of Ekiti, during Fayemi’s tenure, said the team was delighted to work with the minister in his new assignment.

He stated that the bank was mindful of President Buhari’s emphasis on Agriculture and Solid Minerals as two critical sectors that could boost revenue generation and create jobs for the citizens.

Benmessaoud who lauded the administration’s plan to diversify the economy through solid minerals development, however said that the expected revenue may not be realised immediately.

“But the foundation must be laid now”, he said, adding that the situation calls for a creative approach.

The World Bank chief advised on the need for a well structured strategy for large, medium and small scale mining entities, pledging the bank’s preparedness to assist the ministry in its effort to lift the sector and position it to meet its set goals.

He was optimistic that the expected revenue and job creation would be realised with a well structured planning.