Bekeme Masade, Founder, CSR-in-Action and Convener, SITEI; Honourable Minister Dr Kayode Fayemi, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; and Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, Director of Communications, NEITI, at the Road to SITEI Press Conference
It is truly the dawn of a new day for the Nigerian economy with the increasing attention now being paid to our other abundant resources – both natural and human – that abound within Nigeria, especially the minerals sector. Having identified the need for collaborative effort to develop the mineral sector and harness maximum potential therein, CSR-in-Action, with the support of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and other crucial partners, convened a stakeholders’ briefing to discuss key insights into government’s commitment to the sustainable development of the sector, as well as to identify the roles that each stakeholder group must play to achieve progressive growth within the sector.
In what served as a precursor to the 5th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Conference scheduled for October, 2016, Road to SITEI focused on drawing the attention of key stakeholders to crucial matters that have been identified in the mining roadmap – titled Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry – On the Road to Shared Mining Prosperity, and to gain stakeholders’ commitment to proffering actionable solutions to these issues come October. Building on the foundation of the roadmap – which clearly seeks to consolidate on previous successes, improve on shortfalls, create strategic policies and timeous implementation – CSR-in-Action is focused on imbibing a culture of responsibility, transparency, accountability and most importantly, continuity in the development of a mining industry that is indeed sustainable.
For so long, the current Nigerian economic situation and plans for its recovery have been centred on the ideology of diversification. Although this diversification of revenue generation sources for the economy has been persuasively emphasised over time by various pressure groups and other stakeholders in the Nigerian economy, it has continuously been directed to successive governments – especially those that basked endlessly in the euphoria of the oil boom from the bygone years of the 1970s. Yet, Nigeria unarguably has huge, commercial mineral deposits ranging from coal, marble, bitumen, zinc, talc, asbestos and magnesite and more, which can be responsibly harnessed and utilised to contribute to our current GDP, and create a healthy input alongside crude oil export.
It is noteworthy, without bias for or against any regime specifically, that the Nigerian economy wasn’t always like this. However, it requires foresight, discipline and genuine commitment – beyond mere lip-service – to rigorously and profitably achieve diversification in the face of dwindling crude oil export prices, intensified by the challenges of vandalisation and militancy in the oil rich Niger Delta. CSR-in-Action’s work is, therefore, aimed at shining a spotlight on challenges within the sector and devise means by which we can successfully address these issues, while maintaining adherence to international best practices, ensuring we do not sacrifice sustainability for an immediate and short-lived pay off.
Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, had earlier emphasised two key components of environmental justice and transparency, as necessary for sustained growth of the industry.
He said the ministry had resolved to overcome the challenges confronting it in its bid to re-position the sector to contribute 5 to 7 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product of the country in the next 10 to 15 years and to contribute to job creation.
Egghead Odewale, Chief of Staff to Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Bekeme Masade, Founder, CSR-in-Action and Convener, SITEI 2016, and Dr Orji, Director of Communications, NEITI during deliberations at Road to SITEI
In order to achieve the collaborative and sustainable development of the sector, Bekeme Masade, Founder, CSR-in-Action and Convener, SITEI, also announced the imminent launch of the Sustainable Extractive and Energy Principles (SEEP) by Dr Kayode Fayemi and Mrs Amina Mohammed, the Honourable Minister of Environment at the SITEI Conference; a set of principles which will help put in place critical plans, structures and processes for the entire gamut of the extractive and power generation sectors.During the meeting, Egghead Odewale, Chief of Staff to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, stressed on the ministry’s commitment to resuscitating the Ajaokuta Steel Company during their regime, saying: “It is our mission to ensure that Ajaokuta works during this regime”. He promised this while stressing that the industry is not a magic wand type of industry and that the citizenry be patient enough to wait seven to fifteen years for certain outcomes to materialise.
Ms Masade stressed that the principles, which were developed by Friends of SITEI Working Group – a group of volunteers committed to achieving the SITEI vision – would be used to evaluate new and old entrants into the sectors and would be enforced through a multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder approach; including communities, government agencies and state MIREMCOs.
She said: “With the support of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, NEITI, Ministry of Environment, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and invaluable partners from different sectors both locally and internationally, we are assured of a unified stance in our purpose to revitalise the industry. We are, therefore, even more confident that our collaborative effort will inspire even more stakeholders to answer the call of action to fully capitalise on the attendant opportunities for growth and development that will emanate from discussions at SITEI 2016”.
Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji conveyed NEITI’s ongoing support of CSR-in-Action’s effort for sustainability in the sector in tandem with the ministry’s efforts at revitalising the sector, and congratulated the event organiser, CSR-in-Action, for its consistency and depth in mirroring the challenges of the sector and advocating best practices in line with globally accepted Integrity and sustainability metrics.
Others present at the meeting include Prof. Okey Onyejekwe, Special Adviser to the Minister on Policy & Strategy, Linus Adie, Technical Adviser to the Minister, Olapade “H.O” Davies, Director, Policy, Research and Strategy, MMSD, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, Director, Communications, NEITI, Chris Ochonu, Assistant Team Leader, Outreach, NEITI, members of Friends of SITEI Working Group and gentlemen and ladies of the press.
CSR-in-Action thanked Ford Foundation, Shell and other partners, for making the meeting possible. Prof. Onyejekwe and Mr Adie thanked the organisers and promised to implement the recommendations made by CSR-in-Action.