01 March 2019, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Thursday, launched a report that would boost the potential of the Nigerian mining sector to increase its contributions to country’s earnings and Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
Speaking at the launch of the report titled, ‘Improving Transparency and Governance in Nigeria’s Mining Sector,’ Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, said the sector, had not been able to make significant contributions to Nigeria’s economic development, despite its immense potentials.
He said, “There is no doubt that Nigeria has a lot of potentials in the solid minerals sector, but having potentials is not enough. Potentials by itself would not translate to improve revenue for improved fortunes for countries and for its people.
“Our country definitely needs other streams of income, but we are not doing that. This sector is one that has all the potentials to generate more revenue for our country, create more jobs for our people, to even expand our industrial base. Rather than continue to talk about the problems all the time, we want to do something that would build on ongoing reforms in the sector.
“The Ministry Of Mines and Steel Development, MMSD, is doing enormous work to reposition the sector. To align with that, we want to see how we can bring certain perspectives, not just on the potential and problems, which we all know, but what needs to be done and how.”
Also speaking during his presentation of the report, Editorial Consultant of the project and Professor of Geology, University of Ibadan, Mr. Gbenga Okunlola, disclosed that until recently when there had been a slight improvement, the mining sector’s contribution to the GDP had not been more than 0.5 percent, a reversal from the historically higher percentages of about 4-5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s.
He argued that the problems of the solid minerals sector started with the Indigenisation Decree of 1972, which saw the massive withdrawal of foreign investments in the mining industry from the country, leaving the bulk of private sector mining operations in the hands of small-scale local miners.
According to him, these factors were largely responsible for production decline in the sector, particularly in the metallic minerals sub-sectors, starting in the late 1970s.
He noted that today, the mining industry had the potential to sharply contribute to the country’s GDP, but was currently under-performing, responsible for 0.33 percent of employment in Nigeria, 0.02 percent of the country’s exports and 0.3 percent of the country’s GDP.
The report, however, called for policy consistency in the sector, stating that this would help boost Nigeria’s score in the global Policy Perception Index, thereby, removing the barriers to investments in the sector.
To improve transparency and governance issues in the mining industry, Okunlola advocated the sustenance of a robust regulatory framework, revamp of the institution and technical structure; ensuring a more conducive finance and business environment; plugging of loopholes between production and revenue; communities and stakeholders participation among others.