By Our Reporter
Senate Committee Chairman on Solid Minerals, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura has made a case for spelling out specific roles for all the participants in the mining industry.
Senator Al-makura said this has become necessary in order to sanitize the industry, as well as remove impediments standing in the way of fully realising the immense potential in the sector.
Senator Al-makura made this known during an interactive session as part of a panel discussion at the 4th Annual Nigerian Mining Week, holding at the NAF Conference Centre and Suites, in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The immediate past governor of Nasarawa State noted that there is the urgent need to spell out specific roles for every participant in the industry, with a view to ameliorating some of the challenges confronting the sector.
“Give the state tangible role that will ameliorate some of these challenges that we are facing.
“It borders on illegalities and security challenges in the mining industry. It’s very unfortunate and scary,” the senate committee chairman said.
He pointed out that potential investors are afraid to invest in the industry mostly as a result of the scary nature of the business occasioned by the prevailing illegalities and security challenge.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, agreed that there is no doubt, there is need for the ministry to deepen collaboration with the states.
Adegbite said his ministry will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the states.
“We are trying to work with the National Economic Council to make them realize that mining is important because all states now will benefit from it like the oil and gas. We are calling state governments to see it as a partnership, not as competition.
“And to help them further, we said let the state governments form SPVs so they can participate in mining as well, either alone or in collaboration,” the minister said.
Adegbite said the surfeit of mineral potentials in Nigeria is sufficient to kick start a boom in the sector with the right investment and right atmosphere, stressing that the ministry intend to partner with a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the industry to deepen the reforms to foster a conducive ecosystem of private sector investment.
The minister noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated a strong resolve to diversify the economy of the country by using the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to create the right value chain that will be of ultimate benefit to the citizens, by not only creating employment and adding value but most importantly contributing to the revenue base of the country.
He however lamented the absence of a robust investment in the mining sector, with Nigeria barely able to attract only 0.12 percent out of the 5 percent share of the exploration investment falling into the West African region.
“The roadmap for the growth and development of the Nigerian mining industry provides a broad pathway for a transformation of the industry. This is a roadmap that has the involvement of all stakeholders,” the minister stated.
In a goodwill message, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said the Nasarawa state government is making effort to leverage on the mineral sector development as a mechanism for economic growth and sustainable development, stressing that his administration is committed to create conducive environment for investors to harness the abundant minerals resources found in the state.
Engineer Sule however noted that mining investors in the state are yet to fully utilize these opportunities of the abundant mineral resources as a result of huge capital and many other challenges.
He lamented that though the state currently have over 400 mineral title holders operating in the state, less than ten are actually carrying out mining operations.
To this end, the governor said the state government will soon establish an Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to engage a partnership with any willing mining investor that wants to do business in Nasarawa State.
The governor restated his call for the ministry and the miners association to foster closer collaboration with the states and the local government areas to examine and reposition the collection of royalties on mineral resources being paid by the operators.
Engineer Sule made case for the immediate exploration of the abundant coal reserve in Obi Local Government Area of the state for the generation of power, as well as earning revenue.
He used the opportunity to thank the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan and the Ninth Senate for the wisdom to appoint his immediate predecessor, Senator Al-makura as the Senate Committee Chairman on Solid Minerals.
The governor said he is confident that Sen. Al-makura, who has a lot of knowledge in this area, will bring to bear his wealth of experience for the development of solid minerals, calling on the Miners Association of Nigeria to work with this senate committee for the benefit of every one of all.