By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Ford Foundation have released a documentary and diagnostics report on Nigeria’s mining governance, landscape and prospects.
In a statement by the NESG in Abuja on Friday, the diagnostics report examined the Nigerian Solid Minerals industry and what should be done to transform it into an economically viable sector.
The Nigerian Solid Minerals industry is one of the potential employment-generating sectors with a vast capacity to bridge government’s revenue gaps, promote inclusive growth and supporting economic structural transformation.
Nigeria, as a minerals-abundant nation, is endowed with over 40 different solid mineral types found in about 450 locations scattered across the country. Underscoring opportunities for growth, the sector is projected to drive the government’s diversification agenda at a scale capable of supporting the pulling of 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
According to the report, the current state of the sector, however, is not appealing. The sector contributes meagerly to the nation’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP), at 0.5 per cent (2018), performing unsatisfactorily compared to some of its solid mineral resource-rich African counterparts.
Its employment-generation potential is also far from being realised, given its contribution of 0.3 per cent to national employment and 0.2 per cent to total export. Several factors contribute to this grim performance, such as– widespread illegal mining due to a weak regulatory environment at the Federal and State government as well as infrastructural challenges.
Other issues include insufficient funding, high risk associated with mining, health & environmental hazard, inadequate geological data, ill-equipped laboratory and policy inconsistency.
For a country like Nigeria, sector governance issues such as lack of clarity and weak intergovernmental framework for addressing minerals ownership and control issues – contribute to the sector’s woes.
Addressing these issues is essential to move the sector’s contribution to GDP towards the 5% target of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in the short term. Although there are several strategies to contain these issues, the need for actors to cocreate adaptive and pragmatic solutions that deliver Nigeria’s development ambitions, leveraging the sector’s potentials, has become an urgent imperative.
It is on this premise that the NESG and the Ford Foundation worked on a diagnostics report and documentary on Nigeria’s mining governance, landscape and prospects to help resolve the sector’s governance and regulatory bottlenecks, focusing on specific areas such as minerals control and ownership, institutional strengthening, investment environments and minerals codes and standardisation.
The report analyses the domestication of the African Mining Vision (AMV); a further review of the legal and institutional framework that allows for a more productive intergovernmental coordination framework for the sector and engender sector competitiveness; small scale and artisanal mining; improved system for data collection and aggregation to help support trade and investment facilitation in the mining sector.
The diagnostic report also examines the issues related to unlocking the potentials of development minerals and identifies strategies for focusing the Nigerian Solid Minerals sector on driving the country’s energy transition programme in response to global warming.
Exploring these two dimensions in the solid minerals optimisation discourse is essential because they directly connect to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The expanded focus on development minerals and energy transition provides a clear pathway to achieving a more economically secure country.