THE Senate has raised the alarm that if the level of Unemployment in the country was not checked and addressed, a great calamity looms.
According to the Upper Chamber, the rate of unemployment in the country was alarming and could be tackled with the benefits available in the mining sector if harnessed.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a one-day roundtable discussion on entitled “Need for continuous implementation of policy reforms for the diversification of the Nigerian economy through solid minerals sector”, Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, All Progressives Congress, APC, Kebbi North who noted that the sector is very important to increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria, said that the Senate was concerned about the growth and sustainability of the economy which was part of the objectives of the roundtable.
Senator Abdullahi said, “The discussion was organised because any country that does not grow significantly enough to employ its own people is inviting social calamity.
“We have a population made up of youths; the average of the Nigerian population is between 18 and 19 years compared with that of Japan which is ageing and about 50 years.
“So we have immense wealth both human and material but we have not been able to get our economy working in such a way that we can be in a position to employ the talents of our youthful population for the realisation of value.
“It is important to realise the value in the mining sector. We must be able to identify those wealth underground that we can be able to exploit with minimum investment to be able to realise the full value of the sector particularly when we want to use it as a vehicle for growing our economy and providing employment for the teeming youth.”
The Senate Leader who noted that in tackling the challenges in the sector, and administrative framework was required for the operation and successful delivery of the good inherent with the mining industry, said, “The second issue is the law. There is no law that brings in the kind of legislation that we want.
“We assure that if it is a law that is going to benefit the people and the economy, the National Assembly is going explore it and pass it and we can also get the executive arm with the cooperation of the President to get it through.”
Earlier, Sen. Tanko Al-makura, Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines Steel Development and Metallurgy said that the event was conceived by the entire Senate haven seen the passion of President Muhamamdu Buhari in ensuring diversification of the economy.
According to him, the Senate had identified three sectors including agriculture, power and solid minerals to see ways and means of fast-tracking policy implementation.
Al-makura said that the National Assembly would initiate bills that would help remove bottlenecks in the sector to ensure rapid economic development of Nigeria.
On his part, Minister of Mines, Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite who noted l that organised mining would enable government to realise the full potential in the sector, saud, “We are doing this by attending several mining fora all over the world; we are selling what we have in Nigeria and at the same time attracting the right people.”
In a paper presentation, Prof.Gbenga Okunlola spoke on “Nigeria Solid Mineral Sector and its potential as an economic driver”.
He said that the mining industry was an industry that grew slowly but the world had come to realise that it could not do without mining, adding, “The sector is so needed in the development of any nation.”