The Minister, Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, has said the development of the local jewelry industry can improve Nigeria’s exports by over N41 billion ($100 million).
The minister disclosed this in his keynote address at a one-day workshop titled: “Design of Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Jewelry and Gemstone in Nigeria” in Abuja on Monday.
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He noted that Nigeria is traditionally rooted in rocks and gemstone jewellery like the Benin bronze jewelry, Hausa/Fulani ornament, Ife and Nupe jewellery, which are brilliant artworks that are currently known and admired throughout museums around the world.
“Unfortunately, the gemstone and jewellery in Nigeria remain underdeveloped; the Gems are mined by artisanal operation and sold as rough stones in Germany, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and United States,” he said
“Export contribution of over $100 million and import substitution as Nigeria is the largest consumer of jewelry products from the United Arab Emirates, India, China and Europe. Therefore, providing the local but quality jewelry will save the country the use of its scarce foreign exchange.”
He said 40 Nigerians are undergoing eight-month training on various aspects of professional jewelry making and will be given the mandate to step down the training to other Nigerians across the 36 states of the federation.
Abba Usman, the Deputy Director, MinDiver, Mineral Sector Support for Economic, a World Bank-assisted project, said the workshop was a brainstorming session to discuss different aspects and requirements needed to make the jewelry business viable in Nigeria.