The Nigerian Government has begun the development of mineral resources across the six geopolitical zone of the country, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu Ogah, said Monday.
Mr Ogah disclosed this in Enugu during the closing ceremony of the 32nd Enugu International Trade Fair.
The minister said the government had already commenced developing a lead/zinc processing cluster in Ebonyi and funding the detailed exploration and development of salt and limestone deposits in the state.
According to him, the initiative is part of the government’s regional mineral projects in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Mr Ogah said the mineral projects were cited based on comparative advantage and were aimed at providing the necessary support for the economy.
He said the lead/zinc processing cluster was located in Ebonyi for the South East region in order to harness the abundant minerals in the area.
He said the exploration and development of salt and limestone facilities would also serve as input materials for local fertiliser production.
According to the minister, a barite processing cluster is being developed in Cross-River State to meet the needs of the oil/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.
Mr Ogah advised the business community, including investors in the region, to tap into the Federal Government’s policies aimed at diversifying the economy.
He said the Federal Government would continue to provide helpful economic innovations and investment drive platforms like the Enugu International Trade Fair.
The minister said the trade fair had done well to keep abreast of global economic challenges by bringing 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 that the Southeast will continue to be at the forefront of investment and industrial innovations to help steer Nigeria towards greater economic development,” he said.
Mr Ogah said the Federal Government had introduced new ideas and strategies to stabilise 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.
The minister said 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 a success fair.
Mr Nwandu commended the minister for always identifying with the chamber in spite of his tight schedules.
He said that the chamber would continue to cherish the support of relevant stakeholders in future events.