The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said the N6.08 trillion 2016 budget proposal presented before the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last Tuesday was not too much, considering the level of infrastructural decay and other sundry problems confronting the nation.
Fayemi explained that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, which was appropriated a staggering sum of N433 billion, the largest share in the 2016 budget, could still not boast that the amount would be more than enough to turn around the infrastructural rot across the nation.
The former Governor of Ekiti State, who made the statement at Isan Ekiti yesterday during a thanksgiving ceremony organised by his former aides to mark his ministerial appointment, said there is no amount that is budgeted to develop a vast country like Nigeria that can be said to be too much.
Fayemi also lamented the neglect of the mineral potentials of the country since independence, saying the sector has the capacity to turn around the country’s economy, considering its local consumption by industries and export benefits.
“The former governor of Lagos State, who superintends over the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing with about N433 billion budgetary provision cannot say the amount is enough to turn around the facilities of this country if you look at what was involved.
“Lagos-Ibadan expressway alone will gulp N250 billion while the remaining amount may go with the second Niger Bridge, so no Minister can say the amount budgeted is more than enough”, he said.
Fayemi also reassured Nigerians that the budget is targeted at improving their lives, promising that it will be pursued with passion to realize its focus.
“The budget presented by President Buhari has a focus and the focus is to improve on the well-being of all Nigerians and to improve on the infrastructural facilities across the nation.
“So, what we need now is to prove our mettle by being innovative and be creative. We need to work very hard to actualize the focus of this budget and this will only be measured by the level of impacts we are able to make on Nigerian masses”.
On the enormous mineral potentials of the country, the Minister pointed out that Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in cement production is enough attestation to the fact that the country is richly blessed.
“Nigeria is well endowed. Our self-sufficiency in limestone for production of cement, marble, ceramic and many others in terms of local consumption and export rate, one would know that Nigeria is endowed.
“In my local community in Isan Ekiti here, we have clay and kaolin and that was why we are regarded as pottery capital of Ekiti. But what have we achieved or done with this potential? And this endowment can be replicated a thousand folds across Nigeria.
“In Ijero Ekiti, there a feldspar, tantalite stone, Kaolin and many others. Even just look at the stones across the country, if it is just to cut and polish and use as tiles, one cannot imagine the huge economic gains and the employment it will generate, let alone the export earnings that are involved.
“We have been getting cheap money from oil and now the cheap money is gone. Now, we have to look inward and that was exactly what the budget is targeted to achieve”.