16 June 2015, Abuja – Miners Association of Nigeria has explained the critical role they could play toward the diversification of the economy and in facilitating the recovery of the economy.
They have therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to pay particular attention to the mining sector. They said this was imperative because the sector could generate 300,000 jobs in one year.
President of the association, Alhaji Sani Shehu, said as part of the beneficiaries of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), they were now ready to visit the apex bank to present a position on access of the fund.
He spoke at a press conference in Abuja on the association’s five-year Strategic Development Plan for Mining Sector.
The association it was imperative for President Buhari to facilitate their access to the fund by its members because as a specialized enterprise, mining was different from other sectors.
“As a major stakeholder in the mining industry, the association has, as a matter of responsibility, resolved to work with the present government to actualize her aspirations of generating additional revenue for the nation and creating massive job opportunities for its teeming population,” Shehu said.
“For this reason,” he continued, “the Executive Council of Miners Association of Nigeria has developed a five -year Strategic Development Plan for Mining in Nigeria. It promises about 300,000 jobs in one year and a contribution of up to 10% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
Listing the challenges in the sector, he identified unfavorable conditions for access to funding, inadequate geological and bankable data, inadequate logistical support and the issues with artisanal mining.
Shehu also lamented inadequate funding of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and interference of mining operations by lower tiers of government in Ogun, Oyo, Benue, Cross River and other states which, he noted, were still barriers to development in the sector.
Shehu said since funding was very critical, the government should assist with funding for machinery, adding that the government should insist on the use of domestic minerals and discourage their importation.
“Every year, millions of dollars are spent on importing the raw materials that are so vast in this country,” he bewailed. “We have more than enough yet we prefer to spend the foreign exchange to buy these minerals. The implication is that we are creating unemployment and impoverishing ourselves here.”
He also asked the government to promote value addition in whatever minerals that are being exported from Nigeria in order to create jobs and additional revenue from the by-products.
– This Day