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Make solid minerals alternative revenue earner, association urges FG

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Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the Federal Government to make solid minerals an alternative revenue source to reduce the reliance on oil. Alhaji Sani Shehu, the National President of the association, Alhaji Sani Shehu Alhaji Sani Shehu Alhaji Sani Shehu made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Shehu said that the current economic situation had shown that oil alone was incapable of sustaining the country’s economy growth. The president said that the disagreement over the removal of fuel subsidy pointed to the fact that petroleum alone could not meet the financial challenges of the government.

According to him, the solid minerals sector has the potential of becoming a major alternative revenue source to rescue government from the current economic challenges.

He recalled that the sector contributed to the country’s foreign exchange earnings between the 60s and 80s and urged the government to pay the desired attention to the sector.  “The revenue Nigeria will derive from solid minerals will compete favourably with what it is currently obtaining from petroleum, if the sector is fully developed.

“India has less potential in solid minerals than Nigeria but it now earns more than 75 billion dollars annually from the sub-sector; South Africa now earns more than 30 billion dollars annually from solid minerals alone.” He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for identifying solid minerals as a critical sector of the economy but expressed regret that government policies had yet to be backed by adequate actions.

“Government, in principle, has identified seven critical solid minerals that will attract its attention but unfortunately, budgetary allocation to the ministry is always going down. The Mineral Development Fund, which has been enshrined in the Minerals and Mining Act, has not been established. Besides, critical infrastructure to mining sites is not developed.”

Solid minerals need sustainable investment for a period of time to be fully developed. It took South Africa about 15 years of steady investment. India’s potential was realised after years of steady investment,” he said. He advocated the establishment of a Solid Minerals Development Bank to intervene in the sector.

“In the alternative, an intervention fund, just like government did for agriculture, textile and entertainment industries, should be put in place,” Shehu said.

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Updated 7 Years ago

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