Gemstones could earn Nigeria over $12 billion – Don

Mr Adesugba said the country’s current income of “between $10 billion and $12 billion” was based on the value of gemstones in the international market extracted from Nigeria. No West African country producing gemstones, including Nigeria, has a laboratory that certifies and identifies gemstones. According to him, this is partly responsible for Nigeria’s’ current losses in the extractive sector.

He suggested that the first step in tackling this problem is capacity building, adding that “this would enable the country identify the gemstones and know the value of what she has, thereby ensuring the sector improves and takes its rightful place.”

This would also contribute to the nation’s GDP growth, Mr Adesugba said.

GEMSTONE

A gemstone (also called a gem, fine gem, jewel, precious stone or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral crystal which is in cut and polished form used in making jewellery or other adornments. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewellery because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone. A gem maker is called a lapidary or gem cutter; a diamond cutter is called a diamantaire. Examples of gemstones are Amethyst, Sapphire, Pearl, Topaz, Emerald, Aquamarine, Ruby, Tourmaline, Quartz etc.

The worth

The global Gemstone and Jewellery industry is currently worth about $300 billion and is projected to cross $443 billion by 2022, an annual growth of over 4.73 per cent, according to a report in the African gemstone jewellery exhibition and seminar publication. Experts say India is the current global leader, with a market share of about $60 billion based on 2017 records predicted to reach $100- $110 billion by 2021 to 2022. This value contributes around 7 per cent of the country’s GDP employing over 4.64 million workers which is projected to rise to a peak of 8.23 million by 2022.

Is Nigeria benefitting from gemstones?

According to experts, the Nigerian economy does not benefit, financially, from gemstone trade and the current contribution of the solid minerals sector to the country’s overall GDP averages a paltry 0.3 per cent. This meagre amount is mostly due to laundering.

The former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, who is the current governor of Ekiti State, believes “gemstones worth $3 billion are exported annually from Nigeria, but mostly unofficially’’.

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