The Federal Government on Monday announced that the country would soon commence the refining of gold as it had issued the first gold refining licence to a firm known as Kian Smith Limited.
According to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, the Federal Government will also commence the purchase of gold from local refiners, adding that these were outcomes of the recent Economic Recovery and Growth Plan Focus Labs.
Udoma, who spoke at the ongoing 24th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, said, “As an outcome of the ERGP Focus Labs, we have also been able to accelerate the development of the National Gold Development Policy and the establishment of a Federal Gold Reserve Scheme in Nigeria.
“Today, I am happy to report that the first gold refining licence has been issued to a company called Kian Smith Limited, which was one of the companies that participated in the labs. Indeed, the Federal Government is finalising modalities to purchase gold from local refineries via a Federal Gold Reserve Scheme subject to international standards ,such as the London Bullion Market Association.
“This accelerated development of the National Gold Development Policy by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and the progress recorded in implementing the Federal Gold Reserve Scheme by the Central Bank of Nigeria, are direct solutions to issues presented by investors at the ERGP Focus Labs.”
He explained that the government conducted sector-specific focus labs, with the objective of addressing any bureaucratic issue investors might face in setting up projects in Nigeria.
“These labs were held earlier this year. The main labs were held from 13th of March to the 21st of April, while the post labs work continued to the 12th of May. The labs were conducted in three work streams, namely agriculture and transportation; manufacturing and processing; and power and gas,” Udoma added.
He stated that as part of the lab process, the government was able to assist Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Development Company in obtaining expedited issuance of various approvals that were required by its financiers from multiple government agencies.
“Brass Fertiliser is a very large multibillion dollar petrochemical plant positioned to be one of the largest consumers of gas in the country within the next five years. If this project succeeds, it could create up to 20,000 direct and indirect jobs,” the minister said.
He further stated that during the labs, investors interested in agriculture were assisted to obtain farming land from some state governments, adding that a local automobile assembly in Imo State, Autodex Limited, was being supported to double its capacity for the production of farm tractors.
Commenting on the theme of this year’s economic summit, ‘Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance and Institutions Work’, Udoma stated that it had provided another opportunity for the government to examine the progress being made in the achievement of the programmes, policies and objectives of the ERGP.
In his address, Peter Lewis, who was the keynote speaker from John Hopkins University, told delegates and government officials at the summit that for Nigeria to exit poverty, its leaders must address the adverse policy syndrome.