Nigeria can generate not less than N5tr annually from mining and export of solid mineral products, with several multiplier effects on job creation, state development and social infrastructure that could make the solid minerals sector the main catalyst for national development.
The Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria has, therefore, called on the Federal Government to provide the enabling environment for the development of the solid minerals sector.
The Association, which comprises various companies in the business of metal export, commended the focus of the Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, and expressed its readiness to partner with the government in the development of the solid minerals sector.
According to the Association’s President, Seun Olatunji, there is need for synergy between government agencies and private operators to unlock the values in solid minerals sector.
He noted that with not less than 38 viable solid minerals deposits in sustainable export quantity in Nigeria, the solid minerals sector has the potential to generate not less than N5tr annually with the right and necessary frameworks.
He explained that the solid minerals industry could serve as the much-needed solution to unemployment problem, adding that the emergence of the value chain in the sector could create more than five million jobs.
“We are glad that the current government is serious about solid minerals and diversification of the economy. Government should come up with policies that will enable Nigerians benefit optimally from the country’s natural resources,” Olatunji said.
According to him, there is need for regulatory government agencies, such as Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), to work with established private sector companies under the auspices of Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria to develop globally acceptable regulatory standards for Nigerian metallic exports.
“Our vision is to have a solid minerals industry, where all operators along the value chain are well compensated and where Nigeria can realise the full potential of its God-given natural resources,” Olatunji said.
Vice president, Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Bamidele Ayemibo, underscored the need for government to consider viable public private partnership (PPP) option to develop basic infrastructure such as crushing plant and standardised weighing bay among others.
According to him, with a crushing plant, government should put in place a general policy that ensures that all metal exports are crushed and that SON and other regulatory agencies should see to the enforcement of standards in the solid minerals exports in order to ensure that Nigerian exports are competitive in the global market.