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Insecurity, Inadequate Infrastructure Stalling Nigeria’s Mining Sector Growth – Kalu

Insecurity, Inadequate Infrastructure Stalling Nigeria's Mining Sector Growth - Kalu

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*laments nation’s vast mineral resources untapped

*says sector’s current 0.3% contribution to GDP unacceptable

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu on Monday stated that insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of skilled labour have continued to act as bottlenecks hampering the growth of Nigeria’s mining sector.

Kalu made the assertion while delivering his address at a Public Policy Dialogue on Nigeria’s Minerals and Mining Legislation in Abuja.

 

He said that the nation’s vast mineral resources have remained largely untapped, and undeservedly overshadowed by our too much reliance on oil.

Kalu said that despite boasting over 40 commercially viable minerals, the mining sector contributes a mere 0.3% to the country’s GDP, saying it is unacceptable.

 

He therefore called all hands to be on deck to turn the tide.

Making reference to a Bill he co-sponsored with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Solid Mineral, Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi titled Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill as well as eight other mining bills, Kalu said that the bills when passed into law will represent a turning point for the nation’s mineral wealth.

The Deputy Speaker also noted that governments hold many of the levers to deal with the great challenges, adding however, that businesses have the innovation, technology, and talents to deliver the needed solutions.

Kalu also opined that the governing philosophy in the mining sector in Nigeria should henceforth be approached with a private-sector-led lens, stressing that it is through this crucial partnership that the true potential of Nigeria’s mining sector can be unlocked.

He said “This public policy dialogue is engineered to create the appropriate right of way for the necessary adjustments and policymaking creativity that is required to optimize the promising prospects of Nigeria’s mining sector. Today, I stand before you not only as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives but also as a co-sponsor of the HB.751: Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill so ably sponsored by Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi. This legislation if passed will represent a turning point for our nation’s mineral wealth.

“There are indications of a renewed vigor in our mining industry, fueled by a collective will to diversify our economy, create jobs, and unlock the immense potential that lies beneath our soil. The 2016-2025 mining industry development roadmap, aiming to increase the sector’s GDP contribution to 3% by 2025, is already showing progress. Projects like the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state governed by a private-sector-led lens are injecting millions of dollars into our economy and attracting much-needed investment.

“To demonstrate this concisely, in the 3rd quarter of 2023, the Segilola Gold mine in Osun state, Nigeria’s first industrial-scale gold mine posted $118 million in revenue for its owners, Thor Explorations Limited after reporting $71.7 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in 2022 according to its publicly available financial statements for 2022 and 2023. Initiatives like the simplification of licensing and competitive royalty regimes attract global players like Thor Explorations, showcasing the potential for an industrial-scale mining sector. However, challenges remain. Insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of skilled labor continue to act as bottlenecks. This is where the HB.751 and eight other mining-related bills currently under consideration come in.

“They are not just amendments; they are a comprehensive reform package designed to address these challenges and propel our mining sector into the future. Here’s what these bills aim to achieve: Enhanced security: By fostering collaboration between mining companies, communities, and security agencies, we can create a safer environment for investment and development. Infrastructure development: We are committed to investing in critical infrastructure like roads, railways, and power, making mine operations more efficient and cost-effective. Skilled workforce development: We are building partnerships with educational institutions and industry leaders to equip Nigerians with the skills they need to thrive in this sector. Streamlined regulation: The new legislation will simplify bureaucratic processes, reduce red tape, and create a more transparent and predictable regulatory environment.
I urge all stakeholders– government, businesses, communities, and civil society– to join hands and work together to make this vision a reality. Let us leverage the power of partnerships, innovation, and technology to unlock the true potential of our mineral wealth. The time for action is now.”

Signed:

Udora Orizu, Special Assistant on Press Affairs to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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