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‘Develop viable gemstones, jewellery market’

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Experts have urged the federal government to develop an environment conducive for marketing gemstones, and jewellery, to increase their contribution to the national gross domestic product, (GDP).

They also said this would mark a milestone in the quest to build a vibrant mining sector with a wide variety of gemstones and precious metal for making ornaments for local and international markets.

According to experts at Stakeholders Consultative workshop on gemstones and Jewelry industry in Nigeria, the industry presents tremendous opportunities for investment and value addition and can employ people at different levels along the value chain, such as miners, goldsmiths, dealers etc.

Prof. Theo Smeets of the University of Trier, Germany, said the government has a lot to do to boost both local and international markets for precious metal, especially with the growing population of women.

He also noted that legal frameworks will equally galvanise the industry, and instead of exporting raw materials, citizens will be able to process them in-country and get more products in the local market.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu, disclosed that the industry could generate a total of $350 million worth of foreign exchange on an annual basis.

He also said Nigeria was so endowed with precious metal, “the key policy question we have asked ourselves is: ‘why has Nigeria not been internationally-recognised as an important gemstone destination?’”

According to him, Sri Lanka has a long history of gemstones, but it was its government’s commitment to reforms that began over three decades ago that has given her a globally-competitive edge.

“There is a huge international market potential for Nigeria’s gemstones, but it is losing vast business opportunities, value and revenue to illegal activities and smuggled to Germany, China, Brazil, U.S., etc.”

Contributing, Project Coordinator of MINDIVER, Utsu Linus Adie, said they are trying to reverse unfavourable market trend for gemstones, and create a robust jewellery market and promote export.

He equally said the government intends to develop a skilled workforce by creating community jewellery market in all the states of the federation within a five- year period.

“Our target is to emulate is India, who are today the global leaders in gems and jewellery, contributing 29 per cent to world jewellery consumption. We only generate $2 million worth of it.”

Reviewing gemstone resources, Niron Ajibade, maintained that there are many products, and when adequately harnessed will grow the nation’s economy; create jobs and wealth.

Ajibade therefore called on the government to build a sustainable jewellery industry by organising training programmes; create linkages, quality and assurance markets as well as finance the gemstone sector.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Victor osimhen bags player of the month award

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Lille’s Nigeria international Victor Osimhen has been named September’s French Ligue 1 Player of the Month.

The 20-year-old striker, who joined the club in August from Belgian side RSC Charleroi, scored twice and provided two assists in five matches last month as Lille climbed into the top five.

“It’s been an amazing time at this club and to get this award is surreal,” says Osimhen

“I’m grateful to those who voted, thankful to my teammates, our backroom staff and the entire Lille fans for the love.

“I never expected this to happen so soon but I guess this is what comes when you are surrounded by great players, loved ones and the blessings of God.”

Osimhen saw off the challenges of Monaco’s Algerian international Islam Slimani and veteran Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois to the monthly honour awarded by the Player’s Union (UNFP).

He succeeds Angola-born Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, who won the August award and became the youngest ever winner at the age of 16.

An incredible two months for Osimhen in the colours of Lille has resulted in eight goals in 11 appearances for the northern club.

Osimhen was the top scorer as Nigeria clinched a fifth Under-17 World Cup title in 2015 with 10 goals in Chile, which saw him win the Golden Boot and Silver Ball.

He also scored on his full debut for Nigeria in a 2-2 friendly draw against Ukraine in September.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Man United sweating over De Gea fitness

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Manchester united has suffer injury blow after David de Gea picked up a muscle injury on international duty, Spain took no chances to substitute him with Kepa Arrizabalaga in 60minutes.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not given any update on his fitness ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Liverpool.

The United goalkeeper appeared to tweak a hamstring while taking a goal kick during the second half of Spain’s Euro 2020 qualifier with Sweden on Tuesday night.

They face current league leaders Liverpool who possess a potent front three in Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and Solskjaer will be desperately hoping his star goalkeeper will be fit, with United on a woeful run of form.

While, United could be without their De gea and Paul pogba this weekend, Liverpool are set to welcome back their star goalkeeper Alisson.

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