By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja
AS Nigeria continues to depend on oil and gas for foreign exchange, the Director General, Metallurgical Center, Prof Linus Asuquo, Friday, pointed out that poor private sector participation has negated growth and development of the solid minerals sector.
Asuquo made the assertion in his lecture titled ‘The Role of Organized Private Sector in Achieving Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth and Development Through Solid Minerals’, as Guest Speaker at the 1st Ever Solid Mineral Resources Trade Fair titled ‘MINEXPO 2023’ in Abuja.
According to him, participation of the Organized Private Sector, OPS, has been very low and below expectation in the solid minerals sector.
He emphasized strongly that the private sector in Nigeria has enormous role to play to galvanize the nation’s solid minerals sector.
He also made it clear that to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth and development of the Nigerian economy it demands high investment inflow from the private sector.
He said: “The paper has highlighted above the kind of development that is achieved when investments in solid minerals are made in a locality. A Poor community is transformed into a rich community, jobs are generated, economic activities are increased, and others.
“In 2015 the contribution from this sector to GDP was NI.03 billion, in 2022 the contribution was NI.07 billion, just a slight increase. South Africa in the same year, had a GDP in the mining Sector of N5.55 trillion.
“Obviously, Nigeria OPS needs to do more. With Nigeria’s GDP of 448.12 billion USD in 2019, 440.78Billion USD in 2021, 454.00 billion USD in 2022 and projected to trend around 468.99 billion USD in 2033.
“One would have expected a greater share from the mining sector given the abundance of solid minerals in the country. Rather , the revenue from this sector ends in the coffers of illicit and illegal miners.
“This underscores the importance of the organized private sector participation in solid minerals exploitation in Nigeria. The sector needs to be organized, with big companies with financial muscles participating since the mining sector is capital intensive.
“Attention should be paid to the solid minerals sector, no doubt, it’s capital intensive , we need to invest in the mining sector so that it will yield dividends in the mining sector. If we don’t the future of this country will be bleak.
“We have 44 minerals in 36 states of the federation , we need to add values to the minerals especially, the solid minerals which is the backbone for any industrialization, we must stop being a consuming nation but a producing nation.”
Earlier in his address of welcome, the President, Nigeria -Israeli Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture
(ACCIMA) , Iddo Sule, said, “Of all natural resources we have in Nigeria, we have not been able to singularly harness them for rapid development.
” We are blessed with so many natural resources that is why the theme, ‘The Role of Organized Private Sector in Achieving Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth and Development Through Solid Minerals’, is very apt.
” There are no Local Government Areas in Nigeria that have no mineral resources to it comparative advantage, our own is to create awareness that God has blessed this country.”
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