The candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has resigned his position as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development.
Fayemi announced his resignation in a valedictory speech while briefing the media on the mines and steel sector’s performance since he took charge of the ministry on November 11, 2015.
He handed over to the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, who is to serve in acting capacity.
Fayemi said, “My exit from the ministry today follows the acceptance of my resignation by President Muhammadu Buhari, effective today, May 30, 2018, to allow me pursue other political interests. As you may recall, I assumed duty as Minister of Mines and Steel Development on November 11, 2015, following my appointment by the President.”
He revealed that the ministry had got the Federal Government’s approval for a N30bn intervention fund to help provide cheap loans and grants to industry participants and invest in infrastructure.
The Ekiti gubernatorial candidate stated that with the development so far achieved in the sector and the ongoing process of taking the industry to enviable heights, he would suggest that Bwari should step in as the substantive minister.
Fayemi, however, stated that his decision to leave Buhari’s cabinet was with mixed feelings, as he was overwhelmed by emotion and support from Bwari, the ministry’s permanent secretary and the entire staff.
Highlighting some of his achievements as minister, he said the ministry had commenced final moves to fully return Ajaokuta Steel Company to the Federal Government.
Fayemi stated, “We have made progress in resolving the legal issues around our legacy projects, particularly Ajaokuta. We have signed a Modified Concession Agreement that has allowed for the commencement of the return of the entity to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“We have in place a timeline of action, which will see the legacy plant become operational in the near future. We are at this time concluding an audit process, further to which we will fully take over the plant. We are taking the most appropriate steps in our national interest to ensure that Ajaokuta is finally put to work after several false starts in the past.”
On the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, the outgoing minister stated, “We have also made significant progress in our efforts to bring the company back to life with the approval of the National Council on Privatisation that the company be given to UC Rusal with clear conditions for its resuscitation.”
He said the N30bn approved by the Federal Government would help revive the mining sector and boost its potential in Nigeria.
Fayemi noted, “The ministry sought for and obtained approval for N30bn (approximately $100m) intervention fund from the Federal Government, partly to help provide cheap loans and grants to industry participants, as well as for directly investing in foundation infrastructure. For the first time since 2004, we got FEC approval in October 2016 for this amount by securing access to the revolving mining sector component of the Natural Resources Development Fund.
“Similarly, we have reached an advanced stage in assembling a $600m investment fund for the sector, working with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other financial institutions.”
He stated that as part of the support the ministry received from the Natural Resources Fund, it had finalised exploration initiatives totalling N15bn, which had allowed successful entities to help with the exploration of priority minerals like gold, lead, zinc, rare earth metals and more.
In order to encourage beneficial participation of state governments in the mining sector, Fayemi added that the ministry had got approval for the implementation of the constitutionally guaranteed 13 per cent derivation for mineral revenue to states, similar to the derivation that oil-producing states currently enjoy from the Federation Account.