The Federal Executive Council has approved a road map for the growth and development of Nigeria’s mining industry.
The road map, which is to outline the contribution of mining to the growth of the GDP, is said to be in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to diversify the economy away from oil.
Name Of Ministry Of Mining Changed
The Minister in charge of the mining sector, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in company of the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, briefed reporters on the outcome of the meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Dr. Fayemi said the road map which was an offshoot of that of 2012, approved the setting up of an independent agency to regulate the industry.
He hinted reporters that the name of Ministry of Mining and Solid Minerals has also been changed to the Ministry of Mining and Steel Development.
Meanwhile, the University of Lagos and the University of Ibadan also got contract approved for the construction of a university library and international hall respectively during the meeting presided over by President Buhari on Wednesday.
Electronic Wallet Technology
The Federal Government similarly approved the renewal of contract for the electronic wallet technology platform for delivery of fertiliser to small-holder farmers in Nigeria.
The government also assented to a bill for the 2016-2018 external borrowing rolling plan to be sent to the National Assembly.
About 3,800 farmers in Kogi State have benefited from a N750 million loan jointly facilitated by the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and the state government in line with the objectives of the Federal Government in transforming agriculture in Nigeria’s economy.
While presenting the cheques to some of the beneficiaries at the Government House Lokoja during the official flag-off of the loan, the State Governor, Capt Idris Wada said the money would be disbursed to qualified farmers in the state to boost food production, generate wealth and create employment for the teeming unemployed citizens.
Gov Wada also urged the beneficiaries to repay the loan promptly so that others can benefit from it.
He said: “Agriculture used to be the main stay of the nation’s economy. With the credit facility and farmers’ commitment, in the near future, agriculture can again become the main stay of our economy.”
Gov Wada further noted that agriculture used to be the main stay of the nation’s economy before the advent of crude oil, adding that with the credit facilities of the Bank of Agriculture and in addition to farmer’s commitment, agriculture will come back as the main stay of Nigeria’s economy in the nearest future.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Zaccheaus Oluwagbotemi, who said the loan is not government free money but a loan that must be repaid in order to ensure continuity of facility to others who are also waiting for it, added that his ministry would monitor the beneficiaries to ensure that the loans are used for the purpose they are meant for.
BoA Managing Director, Babatunde Sadiq said the bank has disbursed N1.3 million to farmers, adding that “loans below N250 million are given without traditional collateral but with guarantee by the cooperative societies. This is done to assist peasant farmers, who have the intention to grow their farm business but lack the capital for expansion.”