Abuja- Mr Musa Sada, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said the need to develop solid minerals in Nigeria had become necessary as it was the only future of this country.
Sada stated this in Abuja at the presentation of 2014 ministerial platform.
He said considering the potentialities of solid minerals in the country, “the economy in the years to come will rely solely on solid minerals”.
“This is sector of the future that will save the country from economic woes and take us to the promise land.”
Sada said the need to diversify to solid minerals sector was necessary, looking at what was happening in the oil sector where the prices had dropped drastically.
He said the level of development in gemstones was laudable as it had created jobs and boosted the revenue base of the country.
“The nation is endowed with a wide range of minerals spread in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja. Mining had existed for over 2,400 years in Nigeria,’’ he said.
The minister said Nigeria used to be a major producer and exporter of Columbite and Tin, in additional to coal that was mostly used locally.
The minister said that nationalisation policy of government in the 70’s and the discovery of crude oil had caused the decline in the productivity of the sector.
He said this had led to departure of the major mining companies, neglect of the sector by successive governments and the sector became dominated by illegal miners with little or no payment of tax.
Sada said in order to reverse the sector, the government had created a ministry for it and embarked on reform programmes such as change in policy, to make the private sector owners and government, regulators.
Others are enactment of internationally acclaimed legal and regulatory framework that created conductive investment, generation of airborne geophysical survey, establishment of institutions and technical departments.
The minister said the ministry had produced a road map for the development of the minerals and metal sector, a clear indication that the government was committed to vibrant, productive and thriving mining industry.
He said the ministry had produced action plan for mineral commodity in each local government of the federation and had implemented the first phase of one project in each zone.
Sada said government had facilitated active operations in 34 small and major scale mining operations, exploiting targeted strategic minerals resources in the country.
He said the ministry had secured the support of about two million dollars from donor partners, to key institutions to developed educational curriculum and meet the challenges of the industry.