FEDERAL Government of Nigeria has applauded Heritage Bank for being part of valuable private sector collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Ltd, saying such partnership stands to create new opportunities for Nigeria to grow its potential reserves of 200 million ounces of gold.
This is just as the partnership is set to further diversify of the nation’s economy, with a new gold and precious metal market that will grow the mining industry’s contribution to gross domestic products to over 10% by 2026.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this during a Zoom- meet and chat session, a virtual platform at the launch of nationwide Dukia-Heritage Bank Gold & Precious Metals Buying Centres held yesterday.
He affirmed that the launch of this expansive project between Heritage Bank and Dukia Gold would enable Nigeria to mine reserves properly, trade responsibly, refine locally and boost the nation’s foreign reserves.
He stated, “What we are looking at here is an extremely valuable new source of trade, jobs and foreign exchange. This project will create primary employment for local artisanal miners and mining cooperatives, and across the solid minerals value chain. Off-take agreements between Dukia Gold and local mining communities and owners of recyclable gold will be a useful provider of jobs in our post-covid economy.
“The positive multiplier is expected to extend even further than this as the Dukia Gold project will also encourage the emergence of smaller-scale mining companies who, for the first time, will now have a transparent and welcoming market for their mined gold and precious metals. This is set to create jobs and unleash the economic potential of mining communities.”
Osinbajo further counted the enormous benefits of the project, “This provides a sustainable way for Nigerians to exchange their gold jewellery and other precious items for cash. This system of exchange not only helps encourage a culture of recycling, but will also serve as a complementary source for the raw materials needed for the Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Company. These buying centres will also enable the responsible management of some of electronic waste.”
On the project’s diversification of the nation’s economy, Heritage Bank Plc, Dukia Gold which have given birth to a new gold and precious metal market that will grow the mining industry’s contribution to gross domestic products to over 10% by 2026.
Records have shown that the growth of mining production at the end of 2019 in Nigeria was 0.1% and the sector still contributes less than 0.5% of GDP compared to other African economies who are strong in mining like Botswana (38%), Democratic Republic of Congo (25%), South Africa (18%), Zambia (18%), Guinea (12%) and Ghana (7%).
However, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo stated that the partnership that would boost the mining industry production have given birth to a new market, a platform that will contribute immensely to the transformation of Nigeria’s economy.
According to him, the operationalization of this initiative aligns with the overall Economic Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria especially as it relates to the full stream diversification of the Nigerian economy, job and wealth creation, development of the solid mineral space amongst others.
Sekibo affirmed, “It is our believe that as the economy of Nigeria is being recalibrated, given the impact of the global pandemic, the government’s committed aspiration to build a robust and resilient economy will be further enhanced through the operationalization of this initiative working with all stakeholders across States and Government Parastatals, the Central Bank, Private Sector and other international actors towards the development of the solid minerals sector and its appendages.”
He explained that this would enhance a regulated market that would see precious metals and other commodities take centre stage in endeavour to ensuring irreversible economic growth and development in alliance with a modernized Exchange for commodities trading in Nigeria.