Fayemi laments underutilization of solid mineral potentials
By; Oladele Adedayo, Ado-Ekiti.
The Minister of Solid Minerals and former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has lamented the neglect and under utilisation of the mineral potentials of the country since independence, saying the sector has the capacity to turn around the country’s economy considering its local consumption by industries and export benefits.
Speaking in Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government area of Ekiti state on Sunday during a thanksgiving ceremony marking his ministerial appointment, Fayemi said the Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in cement production is enough to attest to the fact that the country is richly blessed.
“Nigeria is well endowed. Our self-sufficiency in limestone for production of cement, marble, ceramic and many others in terms of local consumption and export rate, one would know that Nigeria is endowed.
“In my local community in Isan Ekiti here, we have clay and kaolin and that was why we are regarded as pottery capital of Ekiti. But what have we achieved or done with this potential? And this endowment can be replicated a thousand folds across Nigeria.
“In Ijero-Ekiti, there is feldspar, tantalite stone, kaolin and many others. Even just look at the stones across the country, if it is just to cut and polish and use as tiles, one cannot imagine the huge economic gains and the employment it will generate, let alone the export earnings that are involved.
“We have been getting cheap money from oil and now the cheap money is gone. Now, we have to look inward and that was exactly what the budget is targeted to achieve”.
On the N6.08 trillion 2016 budgetary proposal presented before the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, Fayemi described the budget as not bogus despite being made in a non-oil dependent fashion.
He explained that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing that received a staggering sum of N433 billion largest share in the 2016 budget could still not boast that the amount would be more than enough to turn around the infrastructural facilities across the country.
The Minister said there is no amount that is budgeted to develop a vast country like Nigeria that is too much.
“The former governor of Lagos State who superintends over the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing with about N433 billion budgetary provision cannot say the amount is enough to turn around the facilities of this country if you look at what was involved.
“Lagos-Ibadan expressway alone will gulp a sum of N250 billion while the remaining amount may go with the second Niger bridge. So, no
Minister can say the amount budgeted is more than enough”, he said.
He assured Nigerians that the budget is targeted at improving their lives, promising that it will be pursued with passion to realize its focus.
“The budget presented by President Buhari has a focus and the focus is
to improve on the well being of all Nigerians and to improve on the
infrastructural facilities across the nation.
“So, what we need now is to prove our mettle by being innovative and be creative. We need to work very hard to actualize the focus of this budget and this will only be measured by the level of impacts we are able to make on Nigerian masses”.