Gem-stones sub sector capable of earning $12m annually-NCOM

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The President of the Nigeria Chambers of Mines (NCOM), Alhaji Sani Shehu, has revealed that the rejuvenation of Gem-stones sub sector is capable of earning $12 million for Nigeria annually.

He noted this on Wednesday in Abuja when he and members of NCOM paid a courtesy visit to the Managing Director of Nigeria Export  Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) Prof Adesoji Adesugba.

He said it has Industrial Minerals such as Koalin, Limestone , Dolomite , Gypsum, metal such as tin, columbite , tantalite , iron ore, lead , precious stones , sapphire, garnet , topaz among others.

According to him, some of these minerals are export based , as they are only processed to end-us through a complex manufacturing processing , which we do not have locally at the moment .

He solicited for the creation of Minerals Export Processing Zone in order to build a proper structured minerals export venue which will attract both indigenous and foreign investors.

While responding, the MD of NEPZA, Prof Adesoji said the federal government is highly committed to the success of the scheme which underscores the exponential improvement of NEPZA’s budget for capital projects in recent times.

He said the authority is better placed now to improve on both electricity and water demands of the zones as the shortages of these two utilities in these two zones continue to inhabit operations of enterprises.

He said the other challenges, which are ot exclusive to the two public zones, are the challenge of both outside infrastructure and the general temptation by the State Governments and sisters’ agencies insisting on collecting taxes , duties and levies from enterprises operating in the zones.

“We have a great task on our hands to intensify the sensitization of the public and especially, all relevant stakeholders to begin to truly appreciate the free zones concept .

“This aspect is sine qua non to the overall success of the scheme . Free zone scheme is global concept and we must abide by this standard to make progress .

“We must help the Nigerian Government to remain an economic power house in Africa by ensuring the diversification of the away from the over dependency on the downstream sector through deliberate steps towards developing the Solid Minerals sector, “he said.

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