09 February 2016, Abuja – Exporters under the aegis of Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, AMEN have called on the Federal Government to intervene in the solid minerals sector and tap the abundant benefits as the sector has opportunity of generating N5 trillion annually.
The President of AMEN, Mr. Seun Olatunji said that Nigeria can generate at least N5 trillion annually from mining and exporting of its vast solid mineral deposits, with several multiplier effects on job creation , state development and social infrastructure that could make the solid minerals sector as the main catalyst for the national development.
At a press briefing at the weekend in Lagos, the metal exporters called on the Federal Government to provide the enabling environment for the development of the Nigerian solid minerals sector. “Metallic solid minerals are the most exported solid minerals from Nigeria” he added.
The Association, which comprises of various companies in the business of metal export, commended the focus of the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, and expressed its readiness to partner with the government in the development of the Nigerian solid minerals sector.
According to Olatunji, “There is need for synergy between government agencies and private operators to unlock the values in solid minerals sector. With not less than 38 viable solid mineral deposits in sustainable export quantity in Nigeria, the solid minerals sector has the potential to generate not less than N5 trillion annually once the government put in place necessary frameworks.
He stated that the solid minerals industry could serve the much-needed solution to unemployment as the development of the value chain from mining to export can create more than five million jobs.
Diversification of the economy
“We are glad that the current government is serious about solid minerals and diversification of the economy. Government should come up with policies that will enable Nigerians to benefit optimally from the country‘s natural resources,” Olatunji said.
According to him, there is need for government regulatory agencies such as Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to work with established private sector companies under the auspices of Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria to develop globally acceptable regulatory standards for Nigerian metallic exports.
Vice president, Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Mr. Bamidele Ayemibo, underscored the need for government to consider viable public private partnership (PPP) option to develop basic infrastructure such as crushing plant and standardized weighing bay among others.
According to him, with a crushing plant, government should put in place a general policy that ensures that all metal exports are crushed and SON and other regulatory agencies should see to the enforcement of standards in the solid minerals exports in order to ensure that Nigerian exports are competitive in the global market.
General Secretary, Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Mrs Kemi Ayo-Ogunkeye, added that standard-setting will bring values to Nigerian businesses and Nigeria as this will not only enhance the volume of transactions but also the reliability of the business.
In his remarks, financial secretary, Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Mr. Adegbola Ilori, said the association would also interface with the National Assembly to seek review of existing laws and to promote new laws that could help the development of the solid minerals industry.