SOLID MINERALS AND ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION

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Since assumption of office of Dr. Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, a flurry of activities marking positive and profitable steps have been activated by strategic policy actions that target investment in $20trillion solid minerals sector. This, if properly exploited, can easily replace oil as Nigeria’s economic bedrock.

The focus is to harness the wealth, which includes the value chain components, and transform the Nigerian economy from oil dominated to solid minerals dominated through strategic investments. This is the major vision and pursuit which Alake said he brought on board the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.

From all indications, Dr. Alake seems to be fully on course. Notably, and more recently, the stakeholders – which included mining companies, marketers, experts and public officials – have been upbeat, acknowledging the economic revival of the sector in an unprecedented way. They have also consistently expressed their firm faith in and support for the Alake-led mining sector reform which is targeting macro-economic investments.

For instance, in the past couple of weeks, the representative of the stakeholders of the mining sector in Nigeria and the chief executive of Daroo Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Mohammed Abba Liman, through the media reports, has been assisting the government in encapsulating the vision, policy direction and drive of Dr. Alake to the local and international investors.

Among several activities, a major highlight was the Future Minerals Forum (FMF) which was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Industry Solid Mineral Development in which, according to Liman, Dr. Alake made Nigeria proud and that he effectively marketed Nigeria’s solid minerals to the global investors who strongly indicated interest in investing heavily in the sector.

Recall that recently, the miner made a very big local and international news in the economy. Leading other miners in the country, and partnering with Saudi Gold Refinery and other investors from the United Kingdom, Turkey, China and France, etc, Liman announced that partners are bringing in $20billion dollars worth of investment into the Nigerian economy.

Recently, Dr. Alake was unanimously appointed to head a body of African Ministers of Solid Minerals with a view to building a synergy and harnessing and marketing solid minerals resources for economic benefits of the continent. Clearly, this is another headliner in the country’s proactive move to diversify the economy by leading the biggest platform, big money target and market engagements in Africa.

We have sufficiently maintained consistent support for a well structured economic diversification, and going by the recent activities in the sector under Dr. Alake, the solid minerals sector appears being positioned for this objective.

As an editorial board, we acknowledge the widely reported efforts of the Minister of Solid Minerals Development. Our advice therefore is that, let the minister promptly take full advantage of the positive responses of the Liman-led group and others.

The minister should take a step further and mobilise all the stakeholders, including state governments, bring them to a roundtable and work out a well structured economic diversification plan through the solid minerals sector development.