The development of mineral resources has commenced in the country’s six geopolitical zones, Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu Ogah, has said.
Ogah disclosed this on Monday in Enugu during the closing ceremony of the 32nd Enugu International Trade Fair.
The minister said the government already commenced the development of a lead/zinc processing cluster in Ebonyi State, with funding of the detailed exploration and development of salt and limestone deposits in the state.
The initiative, he said, was part of the government’s regional mineral projects in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Ogah said that the mineral development projects were located based on their comparative advantages aimed at providing the necessary support for the economy through the diversification of the economic base.
The lead/zinc processing cluster, the minister noted, was located in Ebonyi for the South-East region in order to harness the abundant minerals in the area, while the exploration and development of salt and limestone facilities would also serve as input materials for local fertilizer production.
The minister said a barite processing cluster was being developed in Cross River State to meet the needs of the oil and gas sector and for the export of Nigerian-mined and processed barite.
He appealed to Nigerians to support the Federal Government’s efforts with business ideas and strategies for sustainable rapid economic growth and development.
Ogah advised the business community, including investors in the region, to tap into the Federal Government’s policies aimed at diversifying the Nigerian economy.
The Federal Government, he said, would continue to provide helpful economic innovations and investment drive platforms like the Enugu International Trade Fair.
The minister said the trade fair did well to keep abreast of global economic challenges by bringing an array of economic players together to showcase their products and network for opportunities.
“It has also inspired innovative policy solutions to unexpected new challenges in the economic environment. I am confident the Southeast will continue to be at the forefront of investment and industrial innovations to help steer Nigeria towards greater economic development,” he said.
Ogah said that the Federal Government had introduced new ideas and strategies to stabilize and grow the economy in spite of the challenges posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The minister noted that the huge investments in critical infrastructure, including roads, railway, inland waterways, energy and agriculture had impacted positively on the economy.
“The pervasive economic disruptions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic have challenged nations to innovate. One pivotal way that proactive countries are adapting to survive the challenging global economic disruptions is to accelerate the evolution of the industrial sector through innovations in the digital economy,” he said.
The minister said that to build a robust and competitive economy, “one must adopt new technologies and strategies that can circumvent the limits of interruptions of global economic activities caused by COVID-19.”
Earlier, the President, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Emeka Nwandu congratulated the exhibitors and participants for successful participation in the fair.
Nwandu commended the minister for always identifying with the Chamber in spite of his tight schedules, adding that the Chamber would continue to cherish the support of relevant stakeholders in future events. (NAN)