From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, MMSD, Olamilekan Adegbite, has said that the under utilization of mineral resources available in the country is responsible for the slow development in Nigeria and many African countries.
Adegbite stated this at the opening ceremony of the 1st international conference and exhibition of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologist, NSEG, held in Abuja, with the theme: “Economic Diversification: The Role of the Geoscientist.
The Minister who was represented by the Director General, Nigeria Mining Cadastral Office, MCO, Engr Simon Obadiah Nkom, stressed that the undeniably, Nigeria’s Minerals sector offered a robust economic potential for diversification of the nation’s economy.
“Undeniably, Nigeria’s Minerals sector offers robust economic potential for diversification of the nation’s economy yet the country and indeed, many other African Countries have continued to suffer under utilization of their mineral resource. This has accounted for the slow phase of socio-economic development in Nigeria and many African countries. ‘
The minister asserted that the private sector on its part plays the role of owner and operator of commercial mining entities and businesses saying that this shows the high premium, which government places on the private sector in driving economic development activities.
He also called on all geoscientists and stakeholders to support Government’s policy and efforts in diversifying the nation economy using the mineral sector as one of the key driver’s to achieve that.
Adegbite further reassured them of government’s commitment in continuous support towards the growth and development of the minerals sector by generating geoscience data to de-risk and make it more attractive to genuine investors .
Earlier, the Director General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, who also doubles as the President of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists, NSEG, Dr. Abdulrazaq Abubakar Garba, emphasized that the strategic objectives, professional targets and timelines set as enshrined in the constitution of the society needed to be pursued and met.
Garba noted that the essence of the conference was to discuss and brainstorm on how to tackle emerging challenges arising from the dynamic operating environment of the profession.
“The investment in the minerals and mining sector by stakeholders is a patriotic duty of every citizen who believe in the Nigerian Project. In this respect, the role of governments, both at the national and sub-national levels, is to coordinate and ensure a responsible development of the country’s natural resources.
He maintained that the success of the Ministry’s National Integrated Mineral Exploration Programme, NIMEP executed through the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA and other collaborating Agencies was mainly attributable to the role played by geoscientists from its conceptualization, design and execution.
“The recent approval by the Federal Executive Council of a Scale of Fees for professionals in geosciences and mining is a testimony of government’s resolve to stimulate the sector and ensure commensurate benefits to the professionals who are indeed the ‘brain’ and think tank of the sector.
Also the President of Nigeria Mining Geological Scientist, NMGS, Surv. Charles Alabo said that a lot has been done in providing the necessary framework and conducive environment for mining to play a pivotal role in this regard.
Alabo added said that though Nigeria was committed to a system of free enterprise, Government should continue to play vital roles in the mining industry apart from its traditional regulatory functions.
“The federal government should also supplies some vital information necessary to stimulate and encourage investment for the optimum utilization of the huge mineral wealth of our country.
He further stated that the NMGS will continue to support NSEG and indeed all the other Specialist Groups of the NMGS as they play their roles as drivers of the technical think tank of the society.