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Kwara Roundtable: Solid Minerals As Alternative To Oil

Ahmed

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s mineral resources sector under the auspices of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society(NMGS) converged in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital last week to brainstorm on how to diversify the nation’s troubled economy.

The event was NMGS’ 52nd International Conference with the theme “Economic diversification through mineral resources development.”

All the speakers at the well attended event which included the chief host, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi and NMGS’ president, Prof Gbenga Okunlola, agreed that the economic recession the nation is currently experiencing emanated from its over dependence on the oil sector.

The speakers unanimously agreed that the nation must as a matter of urgency and through a deliberate policy diversify her economy using the solid mineral sector to achieve this purpose.

The president of NMGS, Prof Gbenga Okunlola, said “as a society, we can as well say to the nation: did we not tell you? Over the many decades, the NMGS has been advocating diversification, through many of our communiques, at our conferences, lectures, programmes, and many contributions at various levels.”

He, however, said “it is gladdening to note that this present government has thought it fit and proper to make the diversification of the nation’s economy a major fulcrum of the policy thrust of the administration and we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for emphasising this severally, especially for the solid minerals sector.”

Okunlola expressed the hope that this effort would be a sustained policy that would not be jettisoned as soon as the oil price outlook becomes brighter and shoots up again. “It will be perilous for the nation if this path of diversification is ignored or mismanaged,” he said.

He assured the government of the preparedness of NMGS to provide the required technical and professional support in that regard.

Specifically, the NMGS president who lauded Dr Fayemi’s strategic engagement and partnership with the society in moving the sector forward , said the NMGS would provide all the needed technical support to the ministry’s effort to make the Ajaokuta Steel Company work.

The Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed in his speech said the mining sector can serve as a key driver in the quest for sustained economic growth and the development of the country.

Ahmed noted that it was unfortunate that with more than 40 different solid minerals spread across the country, that sector contributes only 0.34 per cent to the country’s GDP.

According to the governor, with about five mining licenses in the state, his administration has established a special purpose vehicle to drive the exploitation and exploration of mineral resources for more earnings from the non-oil sector.

The governor identified mineral resources abundant in the state to include gold, kaolin, marble, dolomite, tourmalines and limestone that could be exploited for the industrial development of the state.

Ahmed said the state government has set up the Midway Minerals Development Company Limited as a special purpose vehicle for acquiring mining licenses and promote investment in the sector.

In a keynote address, the minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi said that the country’s solid minerals sector is currently being repositioned to meet the federal government’s plan to diversify the economy and create jobs through the sector.

Fayemi said the major focus of the ministry was to ensure that the solid mineral sector improve its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) from 0.3 per cent to at least 10 per cent in the near future.

He said a lot of innovations are being put in place to overcome all the encumbrances that could hinder the attainment of the goal.

Fayemi said the target growth was achievable, adding that the minerals industry has great opportunities for diversification and linkages to the development of other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“We strongly believe that the only way minerals development can be sustainable is through economic linkages. We shall promote the development of industrial minerals and encourage down stream linkages leading to the processing of these minerals for our local industries.

“It is expected that huge foreign exchange will be conserved through import substitution; jobs will be created, technological capacity will improve and there shall be increase in resource rents. We shall concentrate on developing minerals that are critical feed stock in oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure.”, the minister said.

Fayemi noting that the mining sector has witnessed extensive reforms since 1999, which essentially crystallized around the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007. He said the country was again on the path to providing a transparent and workable regulatory and policy environment for a private sector- led mining.

He noted the generation of geosciences data to unlock the potential of the sector has been a major challenge. He observed that the present government has found it essential to improve generation of baseline data such as geophysical, geochemical and geological datasets necessary to unveil the tremendous geological potential of the nation.

 

The post Kwara Roundtable: Solid Minerals As Alternative To Oil appeared first on Nigerian News from Leadership News.

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This post was syndicated from Nigerian News from Leadership News. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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