The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said in Lagos on Friday that the ministry was evolving a blueprint to block all revenue leakages in the sector.
Fayemi at the sidelines of the Vanguard Economic Discourse that the blockage would help to scale up the sector’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The minister said the sector had potential to generate more revenue than what it was generating at the moment.
The theme of the discourse was: “The Hard Facts to Rescue the Nigerian Economy”.
He said the ministry had embarked on training of artisans and small scale miners, to enable it to achieve economies of scale and gain more access to funding.
The minister said: “in exploration, you cannot do anything if you don’t search; geological searching is in the act of mining.
“We are also recruiting people for exploration and doing a lot to get Ajaokuta on the ground.”
He also said that the released 2017-2020 Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP) by the Federal Government came after due consultations with economy stakeholders.
Fayemi canvassed citizens’ support for the full implementation and realisation of the ERGP.
He said that the President Buhari led government was determined to recover from the recession for sustenance, rather than consumption.
Fayemi explained that the country never suffered from lack of plans but lack of implementation by past regimes.
“However, this time, the government had vowed to embark on speedy implementation of the ERGP.
“The ERGP emphasizes investment in infrastructure, especially in power, roads, rail, ports and the broadband networks.
“It builds on ongoing projects and identifies new ones to be implemented by 2020, to improve the national infrastructure backbone.
“Given the huge capital layout required to address the massive infrastructure deficit in the country, the private sector is expected to play a key role in providing critical infrastructure, either directly or in collaboration with the government under the Public/Private (PPP) arrangement,’’ he said.
Mr Issa Aremu, the NLC General-Secretary and a panellist at the event, called for the review of the national minimum wage.
Aremu said: “Nigeria cannot get productive when the workforce is not well remunerated.
He said: “When we signed the present minimum wage of N18, 000.00, the inflation was single digit, but now it has doubled, even getting tripled.
“The percentage of Naira to the Dollar then was 80 per cent.
“The pension accrued right stands at N75 billion, Isn’t that pathetic.
Another panellist, Mr Muda Yusuf, the Director-General of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), called for the review of the foreign exchange policy.
He said: “The policy environment is a major driver of confidence for investments.
“The scarcity of foreign exchange is affecting the capacity of the private sectors.”