Towards Boosting Local Processing of Nigeria’s Gemstones

Written by Silas Ezeugwu

The failure to process raw minerals – whether hydrocarbons or solid minerals – into finished products has been a bane of Nigeria’s economy. However, the Solid Minerals ministry through the MinDiver Project, has embarked on a programme to reverse this trend in the area of gemstones and jewellery axis. Silas Ezeugwu writes.

Since the last and present administration in the Solid Minerals Ministry, the emphasis has been to ensure value addition to Nigeria’s solid minerals before exporting them rather than sell them as raw products at cheaper prices. Value addition not only attracts significantly higher prices for the products, there is the added advantage of skill/capacity development and job creation.

MinDiver Project coordinator, Engr Sallim Salaam (middle) with graduates of the gemstones and jewellery training programme, during their graduation ceremony recently.

This was underscored by the new minister of Solid Mineral Development, Mr Dele Alake, who stated that in the new Tinubu administration, Nigeria will not just be a country involved in excavating and exporting of raw solid minerals; rather there will value addition to them so that Nigeria can reap maximally from its mineral wealth.

The minister made this comment recently in Abuja during the graduation ceremony and presentation of starter packs to Batch 3 graduates of the Gemstone and Jewellery Master Training and Empowerment programme of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, in conjunction with the World Bank-assisted Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MInDiver Project).

Now in its third batch, the programme has seen 71 young Nigerians chosen from across all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, trained in the art and business of gemstone and jewellery design and production.

LEADERSHIP reports that 20 beneficiaries were trained in the first batch, 21 in the second batch and 30 in the third batch. The organisers not only empower the selected young men and women with the knowledge and practical skills, they also empower them on graduation with starter packs to launch them in the business.

As the third batch of 30 beneficiaries graduated from their five-month intensive master training programme at the Jewellery Training Centre, Abuja, on August 31, 2023, the group was presented with their starter packs during their graduation ceremony, in an event attended by the new minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake, ministry officials, technical partners,  and other stakeholders.

For more on this important development, read the complete feature in Leadership for God and Country online magazine here.

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