By Gabriel EWEPU
MINERS under the auspices of Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), have demanded Federal Government’s attention for human capacity development to transform the mining sector.
The National President, MAN, Sani Shehu, made the demand while giving his view about growth of the sector for over three years under the Buhari-led administration, which he described as “steady but slow.”
He also stressed that the human component remains key in diversifying the sector, which should be considered as basic factor for rapid growth and development of the sector for sustainability of government policies and programmes.
He said: “We want to express happiness that the sector is growing steadily but slowly. The federal government must be commended for ability to get all the mining literature that supposed to attract investors.
“Apart from that, the human component in mining should be addressed properly. Nigeria’s mining sector is characterised largely by small scale operators and these operators most of them are informal, some of them unlicensed.”
“You can draw roadmap and generate data and some other things at the same time you should also support the existing miners that are already in the field. Support them to formalise, mechanised as it would drive the sector to an enviable height which the sector lacks, but if put in place it will enable their operations.
“Government should also concentrate more on developing capacity of miners with adequate support to move the sector forward.”
He further stated that any reform programme by government should take into consideration the environment miners operate in and ensure that it is conducive.
According to him (Shehu) growth in the sector as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), could be traced to effort of previous administrations.
“Giving this growth by the NBS it could be associated with the previous effort of government, and if more efforts are made it would bring about more revenue generation in the sector.
“Government have to play a critical role in this reform initiative because the use of these resources are involved, and part of natural resources and revenue from other sectors should be used to invest in the mining sector, which has the potential to generate huge revenue for the government in the nearest future,” Shehu stated.
Similarly, the National President of Women in Mining (WIM), Nigeria, Hon Janet Adeyemi, asserted that what government should do for better performance and growth of the sector depends of deliberate globalisation at national level.
“The sector actually is growing with the report from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). What the government needs to do for more growth in the sector is local globalisation, and this means all we do in Nigeria should be done with the local resources we have.
“For instance, government can ban the importation of tiles based on the clay, granite we have, then let there be standardization and laboratory. When we start this our local consumption will be high. This will lead to little to import and so much to export.
“We also have high quality of lead for battery production. BMW has budget huge amount of money for research and exploration in order to have access to lead batteries and others,” she added.