The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, says the house will enact a law to address issues relating to untapped mineral resources in Nigeria.
Kalu made the disclosure at a Public Policy Dialogue organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals in Abuja on Monday.
He said the law would come through a bill, “Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment).”
Kalu said the country’s vast mineral resources remained largely untapped and undeservedly overshadowed by the nation’s reliance on crude oil revenue.
He said, in spite of boasting of more than 40 commercially viable minerals, the mining sector contributed about 0.3 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, saying that such was very meager and unacceptable.
“Our duty call today is to turn the tide. There are indications of a renewed
vigor in our mining industry, fueled by a collective will to diversify our
economy,” he said.
According to him, making the mining sector more viable will also create more job opportunities and unlock the immense potentials beneath our soil.
“The 2016–2025 mining industry development roadmaps are aimed at increasing the sector’s GDP contribution from three per cent by 2025 to something more meaningful and are already showing progress.
“Projects like the Segilola Gold Project in Osun, governed by a Private-sector-led lenses are injecting millions of dollars into our economy and attracting the much-needed investment.
“To demonstrate this concisely, in the third quarter of 2023, the Segilola Gold mine in Osun , Nigeria’s first industrial-scale gold mine, posted 118 million dollars in revenue for its owners.’’
He said the country had done it with gold mining in Osun, adding that it could be replicated across all the states of the federation.
The deputy speaker, however, said that the challenges affecting mining remained insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of skilled labour, which continued to act as bottleneck to smooth operations for stakeholders.
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa said the Federal Government should reform the sector to make it more viable.
According to him, every state has its own mineral resources, and there is need for policy makers to ensure the right things are done to tap into the sector and move Nigerians away from the oil sector.
He added that there was need to focus on the solid mineral sector to create jobs for the unemployed youth.
Also speaking, the chairman of the committee, Rep. Jonathan Gweffi, said the dialogue was necessary to address key priority areas to improve the sector.
According to him, the key priority areas were identified, and the common denominator between various priorities is the need for better governance.
He said the committee recommended the establishment bill for a Solid Minerals Development Company, which allocated 75 per cent ownership to the private sector and 25 per cent to the federation.
He said the bill would repeal and reenact the principal Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act 2007, by reworking the structure based on the priority areas.
He added that security remained one of the key factors in the stalemate of the solid minerals sector.
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