ASHON Calls for Full Utilisation of Nigeria’s Solid Minerals Sector
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has once again been charged to focus on the solid minerals sector as it can provide much-needed revenue and stop leakages going to people taking advantage of low oversight by the government.
This call was made by the Chairman of the Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Mr Sam Onukwue, in a statement, as part of efforts to improve the state of the economy.
“Solid minerals is a cash cow,” he alluded, saying, “The government should direct its searchlight to the sector to take control of the revenue and protect the revenue from going into private pockets.”
Speaking further, Mr Onukwue added that ASHON has at several times urged the FG to tap into “investment in the commodities space to generate employment opportunities, boost export trade and grow the Gross Domestic Product.”
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake, has noted that the sector was one of the top priorities of his principal, President Bola Tinubu.
In September, during a meeting with the Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr Abdullahi Sule, he said his ministry would work with state governors to harness mineral resources for maximum socio-economic development of the country as the federal government seeks to explore all alternative revenue sources away from oil and borrowing.
He noted that the ministry was determined and committed to harnessing the nation’s mineral resources, emphasising states across the country will soon witness rapid development that will enhance the living standards of the citizenry under the renewed hope agenda of the present administration.
Mr Alake affirmed that it is imperative to cooperate, synergise and coordinate all the dynamics surrounding mineral exploration-exploitation and judicious spending of the resources.
According to available data, as of 2021, the solid minerals sector to Nigeria’s GDP stood at 0.63 per cent. The performance was an improvement compared to previous years where it contributed 0.45 per cent in 2020 and 0.26 per cent in 2019.
Despite this relative improvement, the contributions of the industry to the nation’s economy are still negligible and disappointing considering its humongous potential.
The low output in the industry is because over 90 per cent of the activities of the mining industry are dominated by artisanal operators. The MuhammadubBuhari-led administration had set the target of increasing the output to 5 per cent by 2025.