By; MOHAMMED MUNIRAT NASIR, Gusau
Zamfara State Government has purchased 31 kilogrammes of raw gold from local miners to serve as a gold reserve for the state.
This was disclosed by Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle while addressing journalists at the Government House Gusau on Tuesday.
“For a start, we have purchased 31 kilogrammes of gold, wholly mined and refined by our artisanal miners. We will subsequently continue to buy gold from our local miners so as to gradually improve the reserve. The precious metal would be deposited in a bank,” he said.
The governor said the gesture which is the first of its kind by any state in the federation is a novelty which has a better guarantee of returns compared to financial equities such as stocks.
“The establishment of the gold reserve, therefore, is part of the relentless efforts by my
administration to diversify the state’s economy by exploring all potentials of the state and maximally utilizing them for the benefit of both the present and future generations,” he said.
Matawalle said the recent collapse of the oil market has further shown the need to diversify the country’s economy as a safeguard from the uncertainties of the market.
“One of the lessons we have learnt from the global COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of resilience of the oil market in the wake of a crisis that affects industrial production,” he said.
The governor said the gold reserve programme would no doubt have numerous multiplier effects both in the short and the long run as it will empower the artisanal miners who are often shortchanged by the merchants who sponsor their operations.
“It will also stem the influx of illegal aliens who sponsor illegal mining activities and reduce the export of the commodity by miscreants who use the proceeds of their exports to buy weapons with which trouble is fomented in some parts of the state,” he said.
Matawalle said the state has also signed a N5 billion deal with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to purchase raw gold from local miners as means of cutting out middle men and foreigners who who exploit the miners by under paying them.