Business is booming.

Alake debunks receiving N200bn for data gathering

By George George Idowu

The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Dele Alake has debunked the claim that the ministry received N200 billion exploration or data gathering fund as widely circulated.

He disclosed this in a forum discussion held on X space on Tuesday.

According to him, 200 billion naira was submitted for approval, but the budget ministry streamlined it to 70 billion naira, but on getting to the national assembly, 2 billion naira was eventually approved for data gathering.

He said exploration or gathering of data is one of the most important ingredients of any country in the world.

According to Alake, Nigeria is the only country that spends very little in data gathering especially on the mineral resource sector despite having 44 viable mineral resources in her disposal only 5 per cent has been charted thus far.

In his words: “Without an efficient, reliable, internationally certified data no serious investor will come into the sector. Nigeria requires much more than 200 billion naira for data gathering alone. It is not the total budget of the ministry.

“For efficient, reliable, internationally certified data, Nigeria requires much more than the 200 billion. I told you, out of the 44 minerals that are in Nigeria that are internationally viable, all previous attempts of data gathering by the precious administrations had only succeeded in mapping out 5 per cent of the entire landscape of Nigeria and not more than 5 minerals out of the 44 leaving 39 minerals that are internationally viable underground uncharted.

“So what are we going to do? And we are in a hurry to diversify the economy, and we want to make solid minerals to surpass oil in the contribution of the GDP of the country.

“So, the necessary logical conclusion is to embark on an aggressive data gathering. That’s why Nigeria needs more than that. I will justify this.

“Ivory Coast in West Africa. You know the size of Ivory Coast; you know the size of Nigeria. Nigeria is much bigger in land area and population, which means we have more minerals. But last year alone, Ivory Coast spent 146 million dollars on exploration. Within the same period, DR Congo spent 133 million dollars while Nigeria spent 2.5 million dollars. It is an international embarrassment. We spent the least in Africa, and we have the largest landscape to other countries. It is unacceptable,” he stated.

He acknowledged that the Buhari led government actually established a data centre, but the centre only houses whatever data has been gathered and does not get the data itself.

The minister explained the differences between data gathering and data storing.

Alake explained that despite not getting the required fund, several efforts have been put in place to get the required data needed.

He explained efforts like public private partnership arrangement and equity swap arrangements with international companies.

In the same vein, the minister disclosed how over 200 illegal miners have been arrested and 133 prosecuted for the past 2 months since the establishment of the mining marshals.

He further stated that each state of the federation, including the federal capital territory, all have 60 mining marshals but assured that in the subsequent months that they will be increased to 100 marshals per state.



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