GOVERNMENT has unfolded plans
to ensure that the country maximise
potentials in the gemstone sector to
contribute to the GDP and create jobs
and wealth for the citizens.
Minister of Mines and Steel
Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who
disclose this at the opening session of
the 2017 edition of the African Gems
and Jewellery Exhibition and Seminar in
Abuja, said part of the steps being taken
was to ensure that due repatriation of
gemstone export proceeds through the
Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo
Osinbajo, in her keynote address at
the event also made a case for greater
investment in the Nigerian mining
sector and grow it to full capacity.
Mrs. Osinbajo said the focus should

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be on how to make the idea of mines
to market a win-win for all parties
concerned.
“The outcome will produce tangible
result and impact positively on the
populace” she added.
Dr. Fayemi said government would
discourage personal exports of minerals
which have hitherto abetted smuggling
and other sharp practices.
The Minister lamented that the
gemstone business had been a vehicle for
money laundering by some individuals at
the detriment of the country’s economic
growth, adding that the dollar value of
the country’s gems exported is well over
$3 billion dollar annually.
He however, said that the sector is
going through a reorganisation process
with some reforms being put in place,
which among other things would
ensure accurate records and sources of
gemstones; to ensure all gemstone mining
is carried out in a sustainable manner
with limited impact on environment.
“The goal of our reforms in this segment
of the mining industry has been to ensure
proper organisation of the gemstone
sector from prospecting to exploration,
to mining, processing and marketing of
gemstones in Nigeria, with emphasis on
regularising the activities of the artisans
who mostly engage in it.”
Speaking further, Dr. Fayemi who
lauded the vision of the conveners of
the gemstone exhibition and seminar
and all collaborating associations, urged
Nigerian youths desiring to invest in
mining to consider the gemstone sector.
“I am frequently approached by
many young Nigerians who want to
know of opportunities in the industry. I
unreservedly commend the Gems and
Jewellery segment of our industry to
such budding entrepreneurs to explore
– you wouldn’t find a more extensive
value chain with relatively lower risk
profile and entry points.
Back then, the Mining sector was seen
as the exclusive preserve of expatriate
illegal miners, or “old school” players.
Today, we are pleased that our reform
efforts have brought about stronger
participation and shared responsibility
across board – especially with the more
youthful demographic.
“Many young people have worked
with us on our journey to build a more
vibrant mining sector, serving on
statutory committees and in advisory
roles.
“Their energy, optimism and vision
has blended well with the wisdom,
experience and carefulness of our older
veterans and produced the results we are
now seeing in the industry.

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