Why MinDiver is key to diversifying Nigeria’s economy
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has said Mineral Sector Support for the Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) is key to diversifying Nigeria’s economy.
The World Bank-supported project reportedly aimed at boosting the contribution of the mining industry to the Nigerian economy and has expressed a strong commitment to ensuring its sustainability.
The Project Coordinator, Sallim Salaam, stated this in Abuja, during an exclusive interview with The Guardian.
Salaam said that MinDiver, in line with its mandate, is to strengthen important government institutions under the Ministry of Mines to expand economic linkages, enhance knowledge and information infrastructure, encourage domestic investment and mitigate the sector’s environmental impact.
Salaam said the project’s developmental objectives included enhancing mining information systems, formalising the artisanal and small-scale mining sector, implementing proof of concept transactions, ensuring full compliance with environmental requirements, and generating geoscientific data with a focus on making them easily accessible.
He said: “To accomplish these goals, the project needed to create key inputs in the form of strategic frameworks and initiatives such as the geo-data acquisition activity cluster, proof of concept activity cluster, institutional strengthening and capacity building activity cluster as well as sector/ecosystem capacity strengthening activity cluster.
“The Ministry, through the MinDiver Project, was supporting five strategic reform programmes critical to the growth of the mineral and metal sector in the country and the realisation of the Federal Government’s economic diversification agenda.
“The actions were designed to boost the mining sector’s contribution to the government’s economic development plan to generate employment, diversify revenue sources and ensure exponential growth.”
Salaam stated that the strategic reform pillars included strengthening critical institutions to operate efficiently to attract investments, optimising revenue management, facilitating collaboration between the Federal and state governments and increasing economic linkages with other key sectors of the economy such as energy, critical infrastructure, manufacturing and community livelihoods.
He said other reform pillars being supported by the Project included providing optimal access to geoscience data on advanced information infrastructure for researchers, prospective investors, and operators and creating an enabling environment that would encourage optimal access to capital and technical expertise for disciplined operations in the activities of large – scale and junior miners as well as a formalised ASM sector.
Outlining the achievements and key results, Salaam said the last reform pillar entails improving environmental impact through consistent environmental surveillance and green mining practices to ensure a net–positive impact of mining on the environment.
The Project Coordinator said the key results achieved included the establishment of a transparent assessment and revenue collection system for the mining sector, the establishment of a fiscal and transparency framework for the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) and the near completion of mining exploration and production projects subject to formal environmental and safety inspections by best international practices set under the project.