Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari has expressed his ministry’s readiness to collaborate with producers of gemstones in Thailand to organise the 3rd edition of African Gems & Jewelry exhibition and seminar (AGJES) which is expected to take place in August, 2019 for the growth of the sector and to specifically attract potential investors to the Nigerian industry.
Speaking at the recently concluded 63rd edition of Gems & Jewelry Fair held in Bangkok, Thailand, the Director, Artisanal and Small Scale Miners (ASM) Department of the Ministry, Mr. Patrick Ojeka, who represented the Minister with other official delegates, said Nigeria is endowed with many precious stones across the various states and that a strong partnership between both countries will foster the networks needed to develop the industry in the country.
According to a statement from the ministry, the Minister further revealed that the ministry has established a policy/roadmap in the mining and metal sector in Nigeria that is investor friendly and urged Thai stakeholders, who participated in the 4 – day event, to avail themselves of the opportunity.
The policy, he said, provided for potential investors, 3 years tax waiver, mining equipment Tariff free, enabling environment, and repatriation of their profit.
He also requested that Nigerian miners be enlisted in Thailand’s mining training programme.
Recall that the maiden edition of the annual event held in 2017.
In his contribution, the Nigerian Ambassador to Thailand, Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, called on Gems and jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT) to work together with Nigeria to initiate adequate standard training for operators and regulators in the industry, to enhance their skills in Gems cutting and sorting, for higher productivity and national growth.
The Director General, Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences (NIMG), Jos, Professor Bello Hassan, in the same vein, solicited for collaboration with GIT to provide more competency training for NIMG workforce and enable them enrich the teaming populace of youth with invaluable knowledge of the sector for self-empowerment. Other areas of training need, he highlighted, include the use of Gem equipment and proper handling of quality analysis, among others. He also used the Fair platform to publicize and enlighten the audience on the workings of NIMG and requested for support to enable it reach enviable heights.
In his response, the Deputy Director General, Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce, Thailand, Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengit, who welcomed the visiting team to Thailand, pledged to mobilise stakeholders in the sector from the country to attend the AGJES Show in August.
Mr. Sereroengit also urged his assistance to ensure that genuine gem investors from both countries are issued visa to facilitate bilateral trade between both countries.
The Deputy Director, Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT), Mr. Sumed, described government’s provision of a world class laboratory with a standard setting to identify and separate stone colours, among other functions as part of its effort to develop the sector. According to him, the country is willing to exchange such high-level technological ideas with their partners.