Nigeria’s Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) has inaugurated a-13 man committee to develop a robust road map of coal assets.
Alhaji Abubakar Bwari, the minister of state in the ministry, inaugurated the committee on Project Delivery Team for the Reinvigoration of the Coal Sector and Concession of the Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) coal blocks on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the committee should review and make appropriate recommendations on the coal assets to suit the concession of the remaining five coal blocks of the Nigerian Coal Corporation.
He said that the committee should define the Terms of Reference of any Consultant that would be engaged to conduct any study or valuation of the
Bwari said that the committee should design the implementation of a marketing programme to attract high quality prospective investors among others.
He charged the committee to ensure that the concessions of the five remaining NCC coal blocks were conducted through a competitive bidding process.
He recalled that on April 2015, the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) approved the use of a project delivery team for the privatisation of the five remaining coal blocks of the NCC.
He said that the delivery team originally comprised representatives from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and two of its agencies, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing; and Ministry of Environment.
“The first delivery team was inaugurated three months later after the approval of the NCP on July 2015, but subsequent events necessitated the reconstitution of the team.
“We discovered that there was need to reflect the agreement that the project will now be jointly managed by the BPE, and one of the ministry’s agencies and Mining Cadestre Office (MCO).
“This is in view of the complementary mandate of the BPE and MCO to concession the coal blocks through a competitive bidding process,’’ he said.
Bwari said in spite of the first delivery team inaugurated in 2015, subsequent events necessitated the reconstitution of the team to reflect the agreement that the project would now be jointly managed by the BPE, MMSD, and MCO.
“This event is the culmination of the collaborative effort of both the MMSD and BPE to ensure that we have a delivery team that is alive to its responsibilities and capable of advancing the coal to power.’’
The minister said that the members were carefully selected to reflect both the seriousness of the committee and the overriding need to explore all avenues to generate adequate power for Nigerians.
He urged the committee to take the task seriously considering the renewed attention that President Muhammadu Buhari had brought to the sector through his commitment to diversify the nation’s economy.
Mr Alex Oko, the Director General of BPE said that the inauguration of the committee marked a significant milestone toward the implementation of the coal sector reform.
Oko said that the reform in the coal sector was aimed at attracting the needed investment for exploration, mine development and promoting healthy coal sector.
He said that the key reform steps that was required to ensure a successful concession process include policy reform, liquidation of NCC, generation of detailed geo-sciences, information and date.
Others are facilitating upstream and downstream linkages, environmental, social, health and safety, impact assessment and management.
He said that NCP had approved that the assignment should be concluded within 24 months.