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Nigeria’s House of Reps Committee pledges improved funding for solid minerals industry

Dr. Oladele Alake, Honourable Minister for Solid Minerals Development (2nd right), Speaking During the Budget Defence Session in the House of Representatives, Abuja, FCT Photo: State House

*The House of Representatives Committee, in the National Assembly, Abuja, has resolved to substantially increase the budgetary allocations to the mining sector, and also work with the Executive to institutionalise reforms through the requisite legislative framework

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In the current administration’s bid to boost the mining sector’s contribution to diversification of the Nigerian economy, the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals Development has advocated improved budgetary allocations to the Ministry for the 2024 fiscal year.

Speaking at the budget defence session of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development in the National Assembly (NASS), Abuja, FCT, Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi, Chairman of House Committee on Solid Minerals, asserted that Nigeria possesses the solid minerals required to attract the needed foreign exchange to grow the country’s economy and substantially contribute to its GDP growth.

Some of Nigeria’s solid mineral deposits        File Photo

Segun Tomori, Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, in a statement issued in Abuja, noted Hon. Gbefwi said: “In the 70s, the Solid Minerals sector was accounting for over 50% of contributions to the GDP as against today, when it is only contributing a meagre 0.65% to the GDP.

“All hope is not lost, especially because President Bola Tinubu re-echoed the priority the present administration has placed on the solid minerals sector.

“It is quite exciting to know that the helmsman of the ministry has hit the ground running by embarking on strategic bilateral and trade expeditions that will bring the needed investments into our country.”

The Federal legislator also stated that his enthusiasm about the impending revamp of the mining sector, dampened upon receiving the 2024 budgetary estimates of the Ministry, which he declared as “grossly inadequate” to make any significant impact in the very critical sector.

Gbefwi consequently, pledged the House of Representatives’ resolve to not only substantially increase budgetary allocations to the mining sector but also work with the Executive to institutionalise reforms through the requisite legislative framework.

Nigeria has 44 economically viable minerals -Alake

In his presentation, Dr. Oladele Alake, Honourable Minister for Solid Minerals Development, restated the commitment of the Federal Government to diversifying the Nigerian economy through solid minerals.

Dr. Alake emphasised that at least 44 economically viable minerals have been discovered.

The Minister stated the imperative of sanitising the sector and providing an enabling environment for mining operations cannot be overemphasised.

He also stated: “When you do a comparative analysis of the countries that survive on solid minerals in today’s world, they are numerous and some of them don’t have the minerals, as much as we do.

“But because we have had free flow of money from oil, we behaved like the prodigal son and abandoned that which we should have concentrated on, in the first instance.”

Alake further explained: “However, that is history. We are now at the cusp of history.

“The onus rests on our shoulders – ours as executive, and yours as legislature to take our country out of the economic quagmire that it has found itself because of the self-indulgent lifestyle.

“That is why the ministry of solid minerals was created.”

He equally recalled the conceptualisation of his 7-point agenda on assumption of office, followed by his efforts to redirect local and global attention to the mining sector which he noted has so far generated far-reaching global interest in Nigeria’s mineral resources.

On sanitising the mining environment

As part of measures to sanitise the mining environment and maximise the sector, the Minister revealed that issues of insecurity are being tackled with inter-agency collaborations alongside the Ministry of Defence to create a new security architecture that will feature an infusion of a huge dose of technology.

The Minister expressed gratitude to the House Committee on Solid Minerals for its commitment to partnering with the Ministry in ramping up its budgetary allocations for the 2024 fiscal year.

Alake said that the gesture would go a long way in boosting the capacity of government to invest in exploration, which would culminate in the generation of big geo-data on mineral resources and consequently attract big players which would translate to immense revenue for government and economic development.

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