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Nigeria: Solid Minerals Sector Has Annual Capacity for N5 Trillion - Minister

The Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed that the solid minerals sector contributes 0.34 per cent to the nation's Gross Domestic Product, GDP, after he took over office.

But he also hinted that the sector has the capacity to generate about N5 trillion annually, thereby contributing far more to the GDP.

Fayemi who made the disclosures at the 5th International Mining Investment Conference/Exhibition on Nigeria recently held in Abuja, described the contribution from the sector as significant, but said it was small based on the enormous potential that abound in mining assets yet to be exploited.

He said: "Today, based on current data, Nigeria's solid minerals sector only makes up about 0.34 per cent of GDP. While that is significant, it is much smaller than its true potential as the vast majority of our mining assets have yet to be exploited.

"According to one of the major stakeholders in the solid minerals sector, the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, we can generate at least N5 trillion annually from mining and exporting of its vast solid mineral deposits, with several multiplier effects on job creation, state development and social infrastructure that could position the solid minerals sector as the main catalyst for national development.

"Our predecessors as ministers since 1999 made tremendous efforts to shift the sector from a state-led orientation to a more efficient private sector-led sector with clear guiding laws, regulations and activities. Their reform efforts crystallized in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007, a sound piece of legislation with built-in globally competitive incentives."

However, the Minister also acknowledged the economic difficulties Nigerians and business community are facing, but he expressed optimism that it would be over with determination of the present administration to diversify the economy, particularly through the solid minerals sector.

"The current convergence of adverse trends is providing us with the incentives to execute a major shift in our economy. We may be in a season of adversity and austerity but there is also abundant opportunity. These hardships should spur us to seek innovative solutions and new ways as well as other means of driving sustainable growth away from oil driven economy.

"We now have no alternative but to go beyond lip service pronouncements and begin to take the diversification of our economy seriously.

"The President has unequivocally affirmed that this administration wants the solid minerals sector to be a key source of economic growth and diversified revenue base for Nigeria.

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