Federal Government has inaugurated the first international gemstone market in Nigeria, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The International Gemstone Market under the economic sustainability plan of the federal government is situated at Ojoo in the Akinyele Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite said the project was in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to anchor his economic diversification agenda on two key sectors of Mining and Agriculture.
According to him, the ministry designed six strategic artisanal and small-scale mining, ASM, Cluster Projects in the six geopolitical zones.
He said the choice of Ibadan as a location for the International Gemstone Market is predicated on the rich deposits of gemstones in the zone.
Mr Adegbite noted that the International Gemstone Market in Ibadan for the Southwest Zone would create employment and wealth for the country.
On the sustainability of the place, Architect Adegbite stated that the market would be sustained beyond this administration as it would be run by the ministry.
The minister commended the Oyo State government for the donation of the land on which the market was sited.
He said: “These landmark projects are to create an enabling environment to support the Mining Industry through the formalization of the ASM Sub-sector as a major driver of the key growth parameters to engender the development of the Mining Sector since over 90% of the Mining activities in the country could safely be said to be ASM driven.”
“Over the years, a thriving informal gemstone market has evolved in Ibadan. The informal nature of the market gave credence to poorly regulated trading of mostly unprocessed gemstones, leading to capital flights and job losses. It is in a bid to leverage on this long-standing trading experience that the decision to establish the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) Cluster International Gemstone Market in Ibadan for the Southwest Zone was mooted”.
“This event has again provided an opportunity to highlight the efforts of the administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to open some of the potentials available in the Mining Sector to serve as an alternative revenue source”.
“The concept of the International Gemstone Market was a crafted policy to spur job creation and capacity development of gemstones mining operators in Oyo State and environs, through the Economic Growth and Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government”.
“This project houses several Federal Government initiatives geared towards curbing smuggling of gemstones and other minerals as well as the development of the capacities of our teaming youths to actively participate in downstream gemstone and gold value chain”.
“It will interest you to note that this project is designed based on the cluster concept which has become a global trend in industrial development to promote shared amenities, agglomeration of similar producers, customers etc. based on geographical proximity and mineral endowment of rare metals and gemstone pegmatites (whose belt trend from Wamba, near Jos, in North Central Nigeria to Ago-Iwoye area in the southwest, Oyo State) or access to complementary expertise to promote efficiency and increase specialization and production.”
“Some of the notable envisaged outcomes from the International Gemstone Market include but are not limited to the following:
Creation of over 20,000 jobs along the gemstone mining value chain in South-Western Zone cluster; Improved revenue generation from ASM subsector for both operators and government.”
Inaugurating the project, Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde who was represented by the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Seun Ashamu lauded the federal government for the initiative.
Governor Makinde said his administration has designated solid minerals as a sector to grow the economy between 2023-2027 under the Omitutun 2.0 manifesto of sustainability.
The governor called on residents of the state and stakeholders in the gemstones market in the state to follow laid down rules.
In a message, the acting president of the Miners Association of Nigeria, Musa Mohammed who spoke through the Secretary, Dele Ayanleke commended different federal government’s efforts in the mining sector, appealing for facilitation of equipment leasing for members at various operation clusters.
Earlier, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, had intimated that the project was part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to boost the value-chain of the Minerals and Metals Sector and to cushion the effects of the pandemic on our artisanal and small miners in the country.
The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of Mining equipment to mining cooperatives by the minister, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite.
Algeria faces difficulties in its bid for the Nigerian gas project
Financial and security barriers jeopardise Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano project
José María Martín | Atalayar
Algeria and its aspirations to gain influence in North Africa and the Middle East could be at risk. Delays in work on the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano project caused by financial and security difficulties in the region are a major setback to Algeria’s planning. The government of Abdelmajdid Tebboune had expected to be able to operate the pipeline in the first quarter of 2023, which has now been ruled out. The intention was – and still is for when it is operational – to take economic and geopolitical advantage in a context of global energy crisis, positioning itself as a link in the supply chain since this pipeline transports gas from the southern region to the north of Nigeria.
The requirement for the project to get underway was that it be at least 70% complete, which is still far from being the case. Local authorities allege mismanagement that has resulted in an overall increase in the bill by up to 570% more than initially stipulated. The Nigerian government’s inability to inject additional funds to complete construction, as well as security risks resulting from terrorist activity in the region – mainly caused by Boko Haram – have slowed the project to the point where it is unable to meet the deadlines that should have allowed it to become operational this first quarter.
Ministers in charge of petroleum resources from Nigeria, Niger and Algeria have initialled a tripartite declaration, known as the “Niamey Declaration”, for the re-launch of the ambitious and long-standing “Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline” (TSGP) project.
“The project faces a number of funding and security obstacles, and is beset by suspicions of corruption,” says a local report on the delays in its completion. It further states that “the Nigerian National Petroleum Company insists on completing the project, as its cost has been inflated by 570%, threatening to abandon it”. This has prompted officials from the company itself to travel to the field to check on progress, which, indeed, is not what was initially expected. However, one of the positive effects that has been verified is that, despite the withdrawal of Chinese companies in charge of part of the financing, the works have not stopped at any time.
The reason for these Chinese companies to pull out of the project was the growing bill, according to the previously cited report: “Chinese institutions that would have financed 85% of the pipeline project withdrew because the cost of completion was inflated by 570%, and that both the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the China Export Insurance Agency would have provided $2380 million in financing for the project”. The remaining 15% of the financing was to be provided by Nigerian companies, which translates into a figure of around $420 million.
This series of unforeseen events was exacerbated precisely by reports, now denied, that work had been halted. This was also a setback for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who had hoped to inaugurate the pipeline. However, at the end of May, Tinubu Bola Ahmed will assume power and will be in charge of certifying its commissioning. Abuja, whose gas reserves are the largest on the continent, estimated at five and a half trillion cubic metres, aims to exploit its gas resources before 2050, Europe’s target date for achieving carbon neutrality.
The chief executive of Nigeria’s state oil company, Milli Kyari, said: “We have missed some schedules, but we are trying to catch up”. What is clear is that, despite efforts, catching up is going to be mission impossible. Kyari himself points to the end of the year as the most likely date for the opening of the pipeline: “We have implemented a number of necessary interventions, including the additional resources needed to deliver the project, and by the third quarter of 2023 we will complete all the welding work on the line, which means we can activate it by the end of this year”.
The delay in the project is not Algeria’s only concern when it comes to rapprochement with Nigeria. Morocco is making great strides on its second shared project with the Nigerians, something that Algiers is keeping an eye on. Tebboune’s side cannot afford a further loss of influence in a key region. The country’s social, institutional and foreign policy crises are forcing the executive to focus its efforts on consistent progress. Hence, the regional leader’s omnipresence worries an increasingly depleted Algerian government.
Massive Investment Needed to Transform Agriculture, End Hunger, Reduce Food Wastage in Nigeria
Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, the minister of agriculture and rural development, stated yesterday that substantial investments from the federal government and the private sector are required to transform agriculture, end hunger, and lower food waste in the nation.
The Minister disclosed this at the signing ceremony for the Country Programming Framework (CPF) 2023–2027 of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that this framework would assist vulnerable households in accessing better food, maintaining healthy diets, and boosting the rural economy at a time when Nigerian farmers most needed it.
He urged the creation of a robust action plan to address the effects of post-harvest losses, inadequate supply chains, institutional weaknesses, pandemics around the world, and climate change on food systems.
Speaking further, Abubakar stressed the significance of implementing the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (2023–2027) and the FAO country programming framework to support Nigeria’s efforts at economic diversification, strengthen food systems, guarantee domestic food security, and generate income through exports.
He said, “This exceptional development engineered the Government of Nigeria to continually develop an array of policies, strategies, and programmes to boost food production and productivity in the country.
“Obviously, development partners are aware of the federal government’s commitment and initiatives in providing an enabling environment for sustainable investment in agriculture as the mainstay of the national economy.”
Nonetheless, the minister said the framework emphasises four pillars of priorities for agricultural development: strengthening national food and nutrition security through enhanced nutrition-sensitive and climate-smart food systems; support for appropriate and operationally effective agricultural policy; and a regulatory framework.
Other areas of focus include support for Nigeria’s economic diversification agenda and promotion of decent employment for youth and women in the agriculture value chains; improving the efficient and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems; and enhancing disaster risk reduction, resilience building, and emergency management towards strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus.
(C) Agro Nigeria