Abuja — The federal government yesterday stated that despite the host of mineral resources embedded within the states of the federation, the non-performing of the sector alongside its low attraction of private-driven exploration funding was unacceptable.
The government lamented that while mining has a significant role to play in the diversification of the economy, the sector was still classified as "non-performing."
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, disclosed this in Abuja while addressing host of dignitaries from mining destinations across the world at the 4th Annual Nigeria Mining Week.
The minister noted that the existing documented stock of mineral resources can kick start a boom in the mining industry. But, unfortunately, Nigeria still attracts low private sector exploration funding.
According to him, "This situation is unacceptable. To address it, we intend to partner with a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the industry to deepen the reforms, fostering a conducive ecosystem for private sector participation and growth.
"We are also building a strong geo-science base to enhance our competitiveness as a world class mineral exploration destination that foreign investors would find attractive. Nigeria has only been able to attract 0.12 per cent out of the five per cent share of exploration investment flowing into the West African region."
Adegbite told the audience that President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated a strong resolve to diversify the economy, noting that the ministry's policy thrust is to carry out Mr. President's mandate, creating value chain in the mining sector that would ultimately benefit the citizens.
He assured the prospective investors that all reforms shall be steeped in global best practices.
He added that the Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry provides the sector a broad pathway for the transformation of the industry, noting that the ministry does not intend to deviate from the laid down implementation trajectory except if it becomes exceedingly imperative to take certain actions that could fast track the reforms.
The plan, Adegbite disclosed, was aimed at increasing national productivity and achieving sustainable diversification of the economy, adding that mining has been identified in the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) as a promising sector that could sufficiently contribute to the diversification of the revenue base, create jobs and broaden the range of opportunities in the Nigerian economy.
"To this end, the ministry has been working hard to increase the revenue generated from the sector and its contribution to the national GDP," the minister said.