President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff (l) and Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, on the Occasion at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT

Nigeria set to create 250,000 jobs, make $500m from gold exports

*Improved investment in solid minerals is a key part of economic diversification programme, says President Muhammadu Buhari

*Country currently has estimated gold reserves of over 200million ounces

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

With the enhanced gold mining operations in the country, Nigeria now hopes to generate more that $500 million annually in royalties and taxes, and about 250,000 jobs for the citizenry.

President Muhmmadu Buhari stated this Thursday, July 16, 2020, at the official presentation of locally mined gold bars to him by the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMDI) in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT.

Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement on the occasion, said that the initiative would support the government’s efforts at creatiing employment opportunities for Nigerians, while diversifying the nation’s revenue base and improving foreign exchange (Forex) reserves.

Earlier while commending the fresh initiative and reaffirming the administration’s commitment to establishing gold refineries in the country, President Buhari decried the vast amount of resources that had been lost to illegal mining and smuggling in the mining industry across Nigeria over time.

The President reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to combat illegal mining activities, as he expressed concerns that Nigeria lost close to $3billion from 2012 – 2018 due to illegal smuggling of gold to foreign lands.

Gold Bars 

Buhari said: ‘‘With the implementation of the PAGMDI scheme which will result in the set-up of accredited gold buying centres across key mining areas, artisanal miners and SMEs engaged in mining will be able to capture the value of their work.

‘‘These operations will help in diversifying our revenue base. The sale of gold by artisanal miners and SMEs at accredited centres will help the government in realising royalties and taxes from the sale of these assets.

The statement said “these developments will also help in improving our foreign reserves by enabling the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase the amount of gold in its reserves.

“These gold assets which will be purchased in Naira, will not only help to bolster our international reserves, it will also provide a hedge against inflation and other economic volatilities associated with foreign currencies that are held in our reserves.’’

Besides the potential revenue gains that will occur from mining operations, the President disclosed that efforts are underway to set up gold refineries in Nigeria.

He stressed with optimism that these measures would lead to the creation of additional job opportunities across the gold value chain, aside from help the nation to capture the additional value created from the gold refining process.

The PAGMDI, which was launched in 2019, was well-timed, considering the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, and indeed, on the Nigerian economy, stated the President.

According to him, the impact of COVID-19 and the containment measures designed to slow the spread of the virus have led to a slowdown in global growth, which has also led to “a 40 percent drop in crude oil prices.

“In Nigeria, the drop in crude oil prices has had a significant impact on government revenue, as well as on our foreign exchange earnings.

‘‘In responding to this challenge, it is therefore paramount that we strengthen our efforts at implementing policies and programs that will enable greater diversification of the Nigerian economy.

Buhari further stated that enabling investment in the solid mineral sector is a key part of the government’s economic diversification programme.

‘‘Given our current estimated gold reserves of over 200m ounces, most of which have not been exploited, developing sustainable programmes that will catalyse increased investment in the extraction and refining of gold sourced from mines in Nigeria, is indeed vital,’’ said he.

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