Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi announced his resignation from the federal cabinet on Wednesday.
Fayemi’s resignation, which was approved by the President, is to enable him contest the July 14th, Ekiti State Governorship election, as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Minister announced his resignation at a valedictory press briefing held at the Ministry’s conference room.
He also used the occasion to give accounts of his stewardship in the ministry, which he headed for two and a half years, admitting that the sector has indeed met its set goals of increasing its contribution to the national GDP.
In his remarks, he said: “As part of the support we received from the Natural Resources Fund, the Ministry has finalized exploration initiatives totalling N15 billion allowing successful entities help with the exploration of priority minerals like Gold, Lead, Zinc, Rare earth metals to mention a few.
“We have initiated the establishment of the National Minerals Commission (NMC), which would harmonise the functions of the Cadastre Office and a number of key departments in the ministry, under a unified administrative structure for greater efficiency and effectiveness in sector governance. This has been approved by the FEC and passed 2nd reading at the National Assembly.
“We have reinvigorated our Mines Surveillance efforts, with the deployment of newly trained and empowered officers across the federation.
“Infrastructure required for the proper functioning of the minerals and mining ecosystem such as railroads, competitive financing systems, mine and asset security and related support services are being developed in concert with other government entities. For instance, as part of our efforts to de-risk the sector, we are in discussions with the Bank of Infrastructure, as part of a consortium, to attract private capital investments for critical mining infrastructure.
“In order to encourage beneficial participation of state governments in the mining sector, we have gotten approval for the implementation of the constitutionally guaranteed 13% derivation for mineral revenue to states, similar to the derivation that oil-producing states currently enjoy from the federation accounts.
“We have delivered on the objective of building a collaborative sector security framework by working extensively with state governments and relevant ministries to formalize and manage our artisanal miners, while also working with defence and security agencies to curb the actions of illegal mining in the country.
“We also recorded progress in resolving the legal issues around our legacy projects, particularly Ajaokuta. We have signed a Modified Concession Agreement (MCA) that has allowed for the commencement of the return of the entity to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“We have in place a timeline of action which would see the legacy plant become operational in the near future. We are at this time concluding an audit process, further to which we would fully take over the plant. We are taking the most appropriate steps in our national interest to ensure Ajaokuta is finally put to work after several false starts in the past.
“On ALSCON, we have also made significant progress in our efforts to bring the Company back to life with the approval of the National Council on Privatisation that the company be given to UC Rusal with clear conditionalities for resuscitation.
“Development of IT integrated Automation and interactive Web portal for the MMSD to create One Stop Shop online interface for investors and other players in the sector to obtain data on a broad range of subjects about our jurisdiction, and process a number of key applications from anywhere in the world.
“Launched a N5 billion fund (made up of N2.5 billion by SMDF & a counterpart fund of N2.5 billion by Bank of Industry) to provide single digit interest loans to Artisanal and Small & Medium scale miners.
It was a press briefing with an unusual outpouring of emotions, as the Minister of State, Hon Bwari and the Permanent Secretary poured encomium on the outgoing minister.
Fayemi said: “On one hand, I have a deep sense of pride about my contributions to the landmark achievements we have been able to achieve in the sector, and I am thus transitioning out with my head held high. On the other hand, I am overwhelmed by emotions as I bid goodbye to a sector that I, together with other patriots have invested a great deal of passionate and patriotic efforts over the past two years.
“My sincere thanks and appreciation goes to His Excellency Mr. President and His Excellency the Vice President for the visionary leadership and prioritization of the sector; as well as to my ministerial colleague, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari – Minister of State.
“I similarly acknowledge the support of the previous Permanent Secretaries in the ministry, Mr. Istifanus Fuktur and Mr. Mohammed Abbas, as well as the current Permanent Secretary, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu, the entire Staff of the Ministry as well as all players and stakeholders in the industry.”