By AbdulRaheem Aodu
Nigeria is so endowed with mineral deposits that 40 metals are available in commercial quantities in 33 states across the country, an expert in the field, Mr Olasupo Sasore has said.
But in spite of this, mineral resources only contribute 0.3% to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Sasore, who is former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos state, noted that for the mineral sector to contribute significantly to the GDP and by extension the Nigerian economy, the challenges that have served as bottlenecks must be removed.
Addressing the National Consultative meeting on validation of road map for the solid mineral sectors at the weekend in Kaduna, Sasore, who was the keynote speaker, said there is need to address issues like centralisation gap in infrastructure support, low domestic investment, lack of access to most mining deposit sites, legal risk uncertainties, illegal mining and community action.
The legal luminary, who advocated for better realignment between federal and state governments and what he termed equalisation for mineral producing states instead of derivation, called for “federal and state collaboration, decentralisation of mining operations.
“Bringing government closer to the people who host the minerals, legislative reformation and memorandum of agreement between federal and state governments on mineral rights, mining rights in Nigeria.
Mineral royalties go to the federal government, nothing goes to the state where the mineral is found so I’m advocating for equalisation not derivation fund.”
Governor Nasir el-Rufai, in his address said that Kaduna state made job creation and diversification of economy cardinals of his administration to enable the revival of the economy of the state. He was represented by Deputy Governor, Bala Barnabas Bantex.
He said: “Solid minerals development is one of the 10 priority sectors of the present administration in Kaduna state. Developing the solid minerals sector will bring huge investment which will translate into improvements in the lives of our people living in the host communities, and give us economic benefits like increased internally generated revenue, job creation and inclusive growth.
“This strategic Round Table on the Validation of the Road Map for the Solid Minerals Sector couldn’t have come at a better when we are poised to revive the state, and the choice of Kaduna state as the host gives credence to our zeal in championing the sector as a premium sector for investments, along with Agriculture.
“I am confident that this round table will be productive, and that the results of this national consultation will lead to a review of the regulations governing solid minerals development in the country. This will give state governments the competitive advantage to develop their solid minerals sector in partnership with the federal government and investors where applicable.”No tags for this post.