Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has said that the nation’s mining industry has the capacity to generate N5 trillion annually from mining and exporting of vast solid mineral, with anticipated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in excess of $25 billion by 2026.
Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja at the 53rd Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Society for Mining and Geosciences, with the Theme: “The Extractive Industry: imperatives for Wealth Creation and Employment Generation”, Fayemi, said the Mining and mining services industry is a vital source of economic activity and jobs in Nigeria and a major contributor to national income and wealth creation.
He noted that Mr. President continuously reiterated the commitment of his administration towards the diversification of the revenue base of the country, saying, mineral and mental sector “holds the key for economic diversification in Nigeria which is a condition for job and wealth creation.”
According to him, “building the sector and unlock its full potential, the ministry is pursuing a focused strategic agenda. Last year I gave an assessment of what I found and our plans for rebuilding the sector. That plan was recently articulated in a roadmap what will guild how we grow the industry over the next two decades.
“Our aspiration is to build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market for minerals and ores. We will achieve this by focusing on Nigeria’s Minerals mining and related processing industry over a 3 phase period.”
In his welcome address, Professor Oluegenga Okunlola, President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), sought for a collective integration and corporation between government, industry, academia and technical partners to support geosciences data collection and provision of pre completion geosciences information to mining companies to support economically viable extraction.
He commended the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying, “the president punctuates many of his pronouncements on economic recovery with the emphasis of diversification especially the solid mineral sector. This has been practically translated into viable increased funding for the major government institutions.”
An European delegate to Nigeria, Ambassador Michel Arrion, said with Nigeria vast mineral resources, there was the need for diversification in export.
“Don’t look at the EU or the United States, just look at your regional market, you could export to your neighbor and your neighbor can pay you in Euros and dollars, so you will kill two birds with one stone,” he said.
“Another aspect of diversification is diversifying the source of income for governance, there will be means and ways to attract investors, but you don’t give investors task holidays for 50 years, but you can give task holiday for 5 to 10 years.
“As a foreign observer, I can see this domain where you can attract a lot of foreign investors, so there are many reasons for diversification of your economy. Nigeria is blessed with vast resources and we can see that, the problem is to translate the resources into exportations, into operational activities and an enabling environment.
“Behind the enabling environment is the infrastructure, how do you want to export without a well-functioning port? How do you want to transport without roads? How do you want to exploit a mine without electricity? Energy and transport is the first physical enabler.”
He also said that, globally the amount of tax collected by Nigerian was too low, and there should be a balance in tax payment, “because the poor people pay more tax than the rich.”