Targets 5% contribution to GDP from 0.3%
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Federal Government, Monday, disclosed of galvanizing the mining sector with downstream mineral value chain initiative to address identified problems that have negatively affected productivity and revenue generation.
This was stated in a keynote address delivered by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegite, at the first ever downstream mineral workshop with theme, ‘Nigerian Downstream Policy-A Value Chain Mineral Initiative” in collaboration with Lagos Business School, LBS, and Mineral Support for Diversification, MinDiver, held in Abuja.
According to Adegbite the Federal Government has identifies this missing link and have decided to address it by linking mining activities to the manufacturing sector, hence delivering the mandate given by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure diversification of the economy through the mining sector.
He further stated that mineral supply chains are essential to everyday life, from the technology, smart-phones and computers, to the cars including homes, hence crucial to the effort put in by the Ministry under his leadership to promote a more sustainable and inclusive growth in the sector and this has made him and his team to critically consider the enormous potential inherent in the downstream processes to benefit from the nation’s enviable mineral resources.
He also expressed optimism despite lamenting that the country over the years has been exporting wealth and employment, by not adding value to the mineral sectors there is this political will under the Buhari-led administration to change the narrative, which there is now serious moves to enact policies that will help develop the downstream industries that would add value to mineral resources in the country including beneficiation, smelting and refining.
He said: “Mineral supply chains are essential to our everyday life, from the technology we use, our smartphones and computers, to the cars we drive and even the homes we live in. They are also crucial in our efforts to promote a more sustainable and inclusive growth. We are therefore taking a hard look at the potential for downstream processes to benefit from these enviable mineral resources.
“Mining is the foundation for modern industrialization. Industrial minerals most times are used in their natural state or after beneficiation, either as raw materials or as additives in a wide range of applications.
“Most industries such as steel use limestone, manganese, coal as basic raw materials. Bauxite is the main raw material for aluminum industry, while the fertilizer industry relies on phosphate, gypsum. Ceramics industry is supported by clay minerals. Kaolin as an industrial mineral is used in the manufacture of paint, paper coating and filling and several such other minerals. Opportunities abound for entrepreneurs in this area.
“For far too long, Nigeria has been unwittingly exporting wealth and employment, by not adding value to our mineral sectors. We are ready to change this narrative. We are resolved to enact policies to help develop the downstream industries that add value to our mineral resources, such as beneficiation, smelting and refining.
“Mining sector is a critical sector and one of the frontiers of this administration’s priority goal of diversifying our economy’s revenue base, creating jobs, and facilitating an environment where enterprises can thrive.
“Mining in Nigeria which started at about 1904 has remained largely a dream and mirage due to lack of substantial impact to the economy, wealth and job generation, this has largely remained so due to the tenuous linkages with other sector of the economy.
“We have identified this missing link and have resolved to develop our downstream mineral value chain to address this gap by linking mining activities to manufacturing sectors, thus diversifying the economy. The most notable benefits include developing local enterprise and creating jobs, in particular more highly skilled jobs.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is passionate about diversifying the nation’s economy by harnessing the potential that abounds in the solid sector. The bad mining deals that have plagued our nation in the past, especially as it relates to the intractable legal logjam bedeviling Ajaokuta Steel Company and others shall be resolved by the enactment and enforcement of good policies and legislations to sustainable development of our various minerals downstream initiatives.”
“Currently, the contribution to the GDP is 0.3 per cent and I can guarantee you that within the next three years, with the policy in place, we should be able to talk about five per cent contribution and we should be able to talk about maybe in the region of 5, 000 to 10, 000 direct quality job generation from this sector.
“The professionals currently in this sector, when we did some analysis few weeks ago, we discovered that only 412 are actively involved in mining in the country and yet we have several professionals who are in the field of teaching and several other fields because they were not able to get job within the sector”, Ekozin said.