Arising from her first Annual General Meeting, the leadership of the Gemstones Miners and Marketers Association of Nigeria (GMMAN) have reiterated the association’s commitment to further work closely with the government to derive maximum benefits from the value chain in the sector.

The event was declared upon the President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode and Chairman of GMMAN Governing Board during which he also proffered solutions to some of the challenges facing gemstone mining and marketing in Nigeria.

This was contained in a two page communique jointly signed by the National Coordinator of the Association, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Deputy National Coordinator, Mrs. Jumai Oluyede and Director General of Gemological Institute of Nigeria (GIN) Mrs. Anna Momoh.

The association expressed gratitude to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Fayemi Kayode on the exemplary Midas touch he has brought to bear in piloting the affairs of the sector.

While emphasizing that Nigeria is appropriately addressed as the global land of Gems the possible average dollar value of gemstone export from Nigeria is put at over 3 billion dollars annually, GMMAN also stressed the need for all the sector players to work in a coordinated manner that would make for efficiency and rake in economic benefits to the nation.

Part of the communique reads: “With this high demand in the gemstone sector, Nigeria has the potential to grow her economy through the gemstone sector especially now that the country is returning to the path of sustainable development through the non-oil sector.

“If available opportunities in the sector are leveraged on, gemstones can be an important source of income for a developing country like ours through job creation and empowerment.

“Gemstone business is a big income generator and Nigeria should be making good money from it. But it is not. The country has not been able to maximally tap the potentials and impact positively on the lives of those who operate around its value chain.

“Instructively, stones like sapphire, ruby, aquamarine, emerald, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, amethyst, zircon and others are available in large quantities in several locations in the country including Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi states for years and can command premium prices in both local and international markets.

“After careful consideration, without any blame against anybody, we have suggested that there should be a complete overhaul of the legislations regulating the titles and licenses for mining operators.

“We are using this medium to advocate for an improved and adequate legal framework that would phase out illegal mining and allow the full potentials of the nation’s gemstones to be achieved.

“Similarly, we believe an enduring partnership or what I am tempted to call ‘unity of purpose’ by relevant stakeholders will create conducive environment and attract potential investors into the solid minerals sector. We must all join hands to ensure the provision of necessary incentives and support.

“Also, constructive efforts aimed at rejuvenating activities in the gemstones mining sector should be expedited upon in order to minimize smuggling.

“Jointly, we must embark on critical actions and activities that will add impetus to investment drives to attract huge investments into the sector” the communique stressed.

GMMAN is established for the purpose of developing the gemstones industry in the Nigerian economy and promoting the sector internationally. The association is also a forum for networking, capacity development, policy advocacy, promoting ethical conduct, environmental initiatives and good governance.