Miners move to create 300,000 jobs annually
MINERS under the aegis of Mining Association of Nigeria, MAN, have resolved to create about 300, 000 jobs in the sector. This was disclosed by the Chairman, MAN, Alhaji Sani Shehu, at a news conference with theme: “Mining is the Answer,” where he said that the association has also developed a five-year Strategic Development Plan, SDP, for the mining sector.
He said the SDP will help create as well as contribute up to 10 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP. He said Nigeria has at least 33 viable solid minerals deposits, all of which contribute less than one percent to the GDP as compared to 10 percent generated from the sector before oil was discovered.
Shehu said: “The solid minerals industry is witnessing a renaissance and its relevance to Nigerian economy can no longer be downplayed, especially at a time when critical, diverse investments are needed to enhance the economic empowerment of our people.
“The Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, has developed a five-year Strategic Development Plan for the mining sector which would create 300,000 jobs annually as well as contribute 10 per cent to the GDP. “The vast occurrences of solid mineral resources in each state of the federation are yet to be accorded due attention; collective and affirmative action is desired in order to fully exploit the enormous prospects that exist.
“South Africa, which is less endowed than Nigeria in this regard, depends on solid minerals exploitation for 18 per cent of its GDP and has created over one million jobs.” The MAN boss also recalled measures taken by the former administration to reform the mining industry by creating institutions which provided a platform for the sector in line with industrial best practices.
He said even with the reform, the sector still had challenges of inadequate skilled labour, inadequate geological and bankable data, multiple taxation as well as inadequate logistical support and a host of others. He appealed to the government in the area of reliable geosciences data, and also urged the new administration to include the solid minerals sector under the local content law, which will enable human capacity building and facilitate mining cooperatives into clusters.
Meanwhile, he stressed the importance of adequate funding for the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, for its departments to be strengthened to perform optimally according to their statutory functions. He also called on the government to promote local manufacture of mining equipment and create the enabling environment to allow operators to access funds more easily and at single digit interest rates.