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Diversification Of Economy: Why Nigeria’s Minerals Sector Offers Robust Economic Potential – Adegbite

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The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite has noted that part of the Ministry effort to reposition the Solid Minerals Sector, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, in early 2016, identified insufficient geoscientific data and Geological knowledge, weak implementation and enforcement of mining law and regulations, and a poorly regulated and informal artisans and small-scale mining sub-sector as critical binding constraints to the mining sector’s development.

Architect Olamilekan Adegbite who was represented by the Director General (DG) Mining Cadastre Office, Engr. Simon Nkom, made this disclosure yesterday in his keynote address at the 1st international conference and exhibitions of the Nigerian society of economic Geologist held in Abuja with the Theme: Economic Diversification: the Role of the Geologist, Government and Private Sector.

“I consider this theme strategic and timely, given the compelling urgency to diversify our economy for prosperity of the nation.” the theme seeks to define the roles of the critical stakeholders in developing the minerals sector, key amongst which are the government, private sector, and the professional driving the minerals sector development process”.

He said undeniably, Nigeria’s Minerals sector offers robust economic potentials for diversification of the nation’s economy even though the country and indeed many African countries have continued to suffer under utilization of their minerals resources.

The Minister called on all geoscientists and stakeholders to support government’s policy and efforts in diversifying the nation economy using the mineral sector as one of the key drivers and affirming that the outcome of such efforts will benefit all and the generation of Nigerians yet unborn.

In his welcome address, the President of Nigerian Society of Economic Geologist and the Director General Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, Dr AbdulRazaq Garba said economic geologists play vital roles across the entire mineral value chain from exploration to mining; and even during the post-mining phase as the issues of environment and land reclamation for sustainable use are addressed. Additionally, he maintained that the economic geologists also have to interface with interested stakeholders in obtaining social and mining permit licenses to operate while at the same time provide investors with the prerequisites to raise capital for mineral exploration and mining.

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“The theme of this year’s conference, “Economic Diversification: the role of geoscientist, government and private sector” was carefully selected and in my own opinion underscore our role in the diversification agenda of the Federal Government”.

He continued: “Economic geologists therefore provide veritable and robust linkages in the entire mineraldevelopment, utilization and environmental preservation chain and are therefore key to the Federal Government’s economy diversification programme targeted at job and wealth creation”.

Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba stated that the gathering is therefore expected to harvest the best knowledge to aggregate and articulate professionals thoughts on way forward for the country.

“Let me emphasis that, investment in the minerals and mining sector by stakeholders.

“Is a patriotic duty of every citizen who believe in the Nigerian Project. In this respect, the role of governments, both at the national and sub-national levels, is to coordinate and ensure a responsible development of the country’s natural resources.

“To this effect, necessary laws and regulations have been put in place by government, setting clear requirements that must be met by the industry operators.

“The economic diversification policy of government, which is anchored on shared and sustainable mining prosperity, emphasizes the need for cooperation of governments to unlock the full potentials of the minerals and metal sector”.

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“The Federal government is developing a well governed mining sector with sustainable capacity and has also articulated a roadmap to address some of the identified challenges in the mining sector.

“The initiatives and strategies outlined in the roadmap are designed largely to make the mining and minerals sector an irresistible destination for global capital”.

He continued: “The success of the MMSD National Integrated Mineral Exploration Programme (NIMEP) executed through the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) and other collaborating Agencies is mainly attributable to the role played by geoscientists from its conceptualization, design and execution”.

In his part, the President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society Surv. Alabo Charlesye Douglas Charles said the 1st International Conference of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists (NSEG) being a key specialist group of the NMGS, NSEG is a key partner in the efforts as professionals in finding solutions to national socio-economic challenges especially as it concerns the extractive sector of the national economy.

“The theme of this maiden Conference.

“Economic Diversification, The Role of the Geoscientist, Government and the Private intends to bring to the fore diverse role of the geoscientist in the mineral sector and that of government and the private sectors: all in partnership as the federal government intensifies efforts towards the diversification of the nation’s economy for accelerated development and industrialization of our country”.

He said the Federal Government has identified mining and agriculture as viable options in her effort of diversifying the nation’s economy from dependence on oil and gas and a lot has been done in providing the necessary framework and conducive environment for mining to play a pivotal role in that regard.

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“Although Nigeria is committed to a system of free enterprise, Government should continue to play vital roles in the mining industry apart from its traditional regulatory functions. The federal government also supplies some vital information necessary to stimulate and encourage investment for the optimum utilization of the huge mineral wealth of our country”

He continued: “The Nigerian Constitution gives the Federal Government control of all-natural resources, meaning that there is no private ownership of solid minerals in Nigeria. “Though mining is within the purview of the Federal Government, sub national govemments can contribute to the growth and effective functioning of the mining sector by partnering with the federal government to ensure sustained economic growth, environmental protection, occupational safety and provision of infrastructure in host mining communities”.

Alabo further stressed that the potential of the Mining sector to significantly contribute to Nigeria’s economy cannot be over-emphasized and the Roadmap for the Growth & Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry highlights the potential for a progressive increase in the sector’s contribution to GDP over the next decades. It is envisaged that this shift would translate to increased public and private sector investment, more employment creation for the citizenry and overall growth and financial stability for the economy International investor interest in the sector will continue to improve with the federal government also recognizing the sector as a potential prime income generator away from oil.

He However noted that so much more still needs to be done to tap the full potentials of the mining sector given the large mineral resources of the Nation.

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