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Reps Committee Pledges Improved Funding for Solid Minerals
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Reps Committee Pledges Improved Funding for Solid Minerals

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The House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals Development has made a case for scaled up budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development for the 2024 fiscal year to bolster the mining sector’s contribution to diversification of the economy.

In his opening remarks at the budget defence session of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, the Chairman, House Committee on Solid minerals, Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi asserted that Nigeria possesses the solid minerals required to attract the needed foreign exchange to grow the nation’s economy and substantially contribute to her Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“In the 70s, the solid minerals sector was accounting for over 50% of contributions to the GDP as against today where it is only contributing a meagre 0.65% to the GDP. All hope is not lost, especially because President Bola Tinubu re-echoed the priority the present administration has placed on the solid minerals sector.

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“It is quite exciting to know that the helmsman of the ministry has hit the ground running by embarking on strategic bilateral and trade expeditions that will bring the needed investments into our country”, Hon. Gbefwi said.

Speaking further, Hon. Gbefwi asserted that his enthusiasm about the impending revamp of the mining sector, dampened upon receiving the 2024 budgetary estimates of the Ministry which he declared as grossly inadequate to make any significant impact in the very critical sector.

The committee chairman consequently pledged the House of Representatives’ resolve to not only substantially increase budgetary allocations to the mining sector but also work with the executive to institutionalise reforms through the requisite legislative framework.

In his presentation, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake restated the commitment of the federal government to diversify the nation’s economy through solid minerals.

He emphasised that at least 44 economically viable minerals have been discovered, asserting that the imperative of sanitising the sector and providing an enabling environment for mining operations can not be overemphasised

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“When you do a comparative analysis of the countries that survive on solid minerals in today’s world, they are numerous and some of them don’t have the minerals, as much as we do, but because we have had free flow of money from oil, we behaved like the prodigal son and abandoned that which we should have concentrated on, in the first instance. However, that is history. We are now at the cusp of history.

“The onus rests on our shoulders – ours as executive, and yours as legislature to take our country out of the economic quagmire that it has found itself because of the self-indulgent lifestyle. That is why the ministry of solid minerals was created, “the Minister emphasised.

Alake recalled the conceptualisation of his 7-point agenda on assumption of office followed by his efforts to redirect local and global attention to the mining sector which he noted has so far generated far-reaching global interest in Nigeria’s mineral resources.

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To sanitise the mining environment, the Minister revealed that issues of insecurity is being tackled with inter-agency collaborations alongside the ministry of defence to create a new security architecture that will feature an infusion of a huge dose of technology.

The Minister expressed gratitude to the House committee for its commitment to partner with the ministry in ramping up the ministry’s budgetary allocations for the 2024 fiscal year, stressing that the gesture will go a long way in boosting the capacity of government to invest in exploration which will culminate in the generation of big geo-data on mineral resources and consequently attract big players which would translate to immense revenue for government and economic development.

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