27 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration will do everything possible to move Nigeria’s economy away from dependence on crude oil, noting that it has adopted solid minerals sector as the new frontier of the nation’s economic development.
He stated that in order to fully develop the new frontier, his government would soon roll out a master plan for the exploration of the 44 solid minerals identified to be available in commercial quantity.
The President Buhari made this disclosure, in his address to the 56th annual conference of the National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), held in Dutse, the capital of Jigawa state.
The president, who was represented at the occasion by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah revealed that his administration is moving the nation towards the full development of the solid mineral sector because of the declining fortune of the oil sector, which makes it imperative for Nigeria to find alternative sources of revenue generation.
He acknowledged that the development of the solid minerals sector, particularly the Iron Ore sub –sector, would help create more jobs, as well as conserve the over $3 million dollars being expended on the importation of steels into the country.
“Mr. President has expressed determination to structurally diversify the economy of Nigeria, and the population size of the nation is one of the potentials, he intends to exploit in this regard.
“He has also identified the Solid Minerals sector as the new economic frontier of the nation, for too long we have makes ourselves dependent on the oil economy, which has not been helpful,” he said.
According to him, in order to achieve the objective, the government will concentrate on the development of the collapsed infrastructures, such as rail and road transportation, among others.
“Our regime also intends to embark on industrialization through processing of the available mineral resources, unlike what is happening in the past when only export raw material without value addition.
“Current trend in Cement sector is an eye opener, as before now, Nigerian was an importer of Cement, but with deliberate plans put in place, we have moved to become a net exporter of the commodity,” he stated.
President Buhari disclosed that government is interested in building a long time partnership with the private sector so as to attract the needed investment; to compliment the investment is already making to develop the sector.
“That is why Mr. President in all his trips has been trying towards attracting Direct Foreign Investment (DFI). NACCIMA as an association of private players in the economy is critical in our diversification plan.
“Your body must continue to strive to give proper voice to what government is doing. Very soon Government will make public its road-map for the Solid Minerals and the support of NACCIMA will be crucial to it implementation” he added.