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Nigerian in Diaspora investors are crucial partners for solid minerals development –Alake

Dr. Oladele Alake, Honourable Minister for Solid Minerals Development (4th from left); Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairperson of NiDCOM (far right) and Other Visiting Investors in a Group Photograph with the Honourable Minister of Solid Minerals Development, During a Courtesy Visit to the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development Office in Abuja, FCT      Photo: State House

*Dr. Oladele Alake, Minister for Solid Minerals Development, also stresses the local value addition is mandatory for fresh mining licences for operators, noting the shift in focus to the Solid Minerals sector is pivotal to economic survival of Nigeria

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of ongoing efforts at transforming the sector of the economy, Dr. Oladele Alake, Honourable Minister for Solid Minerals Development, has declared that Nigerians in Diaspora investors are essential partners for unlocking the financing and technical capacity required in the industry.

Dr. Alake affirmed this while speaking to a cross-section of Nigerians in Diaspora investors, led to his office evening Monday, November 13, 2023, in Abuja, FCT, by Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).

Segun Tomori, Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, in a statement issued Tuesday, said the Minister stressed that the shift in focus to the Solid Minerals sector is pivotal to economic survival of Nigeria in view of dwindling oil revenue, as the world transitions to clean energy.

Mining sector will soon grow exponentially -Dabiri-Erewa

In her remarks, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said that the visiting investors were part of the delegates to the 6th Nigeria in Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS), where over 6,000 participated physically and online, who she stated, are passionate about the country.

The NiDCOM Chief stated: “All they are asking for, according to her, is the enabling environment.”

She also lauded the Minister for his ongoing reforms of the mining sector that has renewed interest in the industry across the globe.

Abike-Dabiri expressed optimism that with the commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to diversifying the economy, investments in the mining sector would grow exponentially in no distant future.

Lamenting the fixation on oil over past decades, Dr. Alake emphasised that the free flow of oil revenue led to the neglect of other sectors of the economy, leading Nigeria to descend from a producing nation to a consumer one stressing that the painful part is the desecration of social values because of the free flow of money, asserting Nigeria is today suffering the consequences.

The Minister also noted: “Two very fundamental reasons have led us to shift attention away from oil into the mining sector. “First is economic survival. The world is transitioning from fossil fuel to clean energy.

“The hydrocarbons are on a downward trend. So, if we are not careful to shift attention from oil, we will be in an economic dire straits in a few years.”

He further explained: “The second is global warming, which every country is now conscious of, and making attempts to reduce hydrocarbons.

“Oil is hydrocarbon, so if global attention is shifting from it, we must also join the clamour for clean energy and to do that, we take recourse to our solid minerals which God has given us in great abundance.”

While urging the Diasporan investors to join hands with Federal Government, Dr. Alake made a case for investment in the mining sector.

He as well emphasised the abundance of critical minerals such as Lithium, gold, and the like across the country.

The Minister restated the commitment of the Federal Government to ensure local value addition by prospective mining operators

Alake stated: “You set up the factories here, you refine, you produce, so that the beneficiation for our people will increase. Make your money no doubt, but the country will not be short-changed.

“I made a policy announcement recently that henceforth, we are not going to license anybody without a plan for local value addition with timelines, and we will monitor.

“Those advanced countries that we run to today have become what they are, and are above subsistence level as a result of meticulous planning and execution and above all, sacrifice by previous generations.

“The sacrifices of those generations have manifested in the results we see today, which their younger generation enjoy.”

According to him, it  behoves on Nigerians at this very pivotal time in the country’s history, that “our generation should make the necessary sacrifices for our future generations, so that in future, other parts of the world too will be running to Nigeria.”

He avowed this is  because for one thing, in his considered view, this is one of the most blessed countries in the world in terms of our climate, resources – human and material.

“There is no aspect of human endeavours that we don’t have Nigerians excelling.

“What has been particularly wrong with us is the incapacity to harness all these resources for the benefit of our people.”

He also asserted: “However, that’s history. I will always say there is a new sheriff in town and everything is changing.

“This the first time in the history of this country that we have a leader who has the combined three attributes of progressive leadership.

“Those critical factors are vision, knowledge, and courage. The effect of that is the visibility and renewed focus on the mining sector.”

Alake said in order to ensure that the mining sector is sanitised and enabling environment provided for investors, challenges of insecurity are being addressed through a creation of a new security architecture with an infusion of technology and inter-agency security collaboration.

He equally intimated his guests with the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with a German company, GeoScan Limited which with its latest proprietary technology in the mining sector will explore solid minerals as far as 10,000m underground, with zero net environmental impact. This development, he said, will lead to the generation of big geo-data that will aid investors in making informed judgement about the viability of their investments.

Funding strategy for sector, by Minister

As regards financing for the mining industry in Nigeria, Dr. Alake disclosed that the Ministry is working with the African Finance Corporation (AFC), the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), and other institutions to raise requisite funds whilst also putting in place a surfeit of regulatory framework that will ensure an enabling environment for prospective investors.

Speaking on behalf of the Nigerians in Diaspora investors, Dr. Ali Garuba congratulated the Minister on his appointment.

Garuba remarked that the reforms and renewed interest in the sector had attracted global attention.

He stated: “Mining is a sector that we are really passionate about. It’s an opportunity to be trained and invested.

“This is a sector that is populated by foreigners, and we know that the value they get from it and we get in return is very minute.

“We know that as Africans, we can leverage our Diaspora community to develop that sector, and there is a high interest in it.

“With Mining, we can create so many jobs that a whole community can be developed, just by the hard labour of the miners. So we are really excited about it.”

Dr. Garuba noted: “We want to be role models so that young people can aspire to become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is where wealth is.

“That’s how we are going to create the middle class in this country.

“It’s not only about working in government, everybody wants to work in government.

“If nobody wants to grow the economy, someday, the money is not going to be there in government.”

The leader of the delegation added: “So we in Diaspora are a very powerful tool that we have in Nigeria to make a difference.

“To make this country occupy its rightful position on the continent and in the world.

“We have listened with rapt attention to the minister, and we will contribute our quota to the vision to make solid minerals the largest contributor to our nation’s economy.”

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