THE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development have called on stakeholders and financial institutions to channel more investments into the country’s mining sector in order to realise Nigeria’s non-oil economic potentials and bolster the nation’s export capacity.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, who spoke at the mining and solid minerals conference in Lagos, said the mining sector had been neglected in the conversation regarding the need to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on oil and gas.
He said, “The whole essence of this gathering is to explore funding the sector, and how do you do that? To tell people of the possibility of what this sector can bring to the table. Unfortunately, it seems we do not have total value. The CBN has spent several hundred billion of naira every year in agriculture. That is good. We need to feed ourselves, so we must say kudos to that because I think Thailand is regretting the fact that we are now planting rice and we do not import rice from Thailand anymore. But the CBN needs to do more.
“Every month, every state of the federation goes to Abuja, represented by either their commissioner for finance or their accountant general. They go and share the revenue that has come into the federation account, which belongs to the three tiers of government. Most of the funds come in from oil and gas.
But you know what happened this year? The NNPC did not put anything into the federation account because of subsidy, they spent all the money that they should have put in the account on subsidy.”
“The resultant effect is that most state governments cannot pay salaries because they only rely on this money that they get from Abuja. Fossil fuel might be here longer than 25 years, because what will replace fossil fuel is actually from minerals, and we have not even started to invest the kind of funds that will give us the quantum of minerals we need to replace fossil fuel. We have not even discovered those deposits, not to talk of mining them.
So, in the interim, fossil fuel will linger because if you want electric cars by 2030, what will you use to power them with? We don’t have those minerals yet. That is why a forum like this is very important. It will help us to realise the importance of putting the right funds into the sector so that we can benefit maximally from this explosion.”
Also speaking, President, LCCI, Asiwaju Michael Olawale-Cole, noted that every local government in the country is endowed with mineral resources that could be explored and leveraged towards improving Nigeria’s economy.