The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah, Monday lamented the lack of financial support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for development of the solid mineral sector.
The minister spoke at a two-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy in Abuja.
The public hearing was organised to get inputs from stakeholders on four bills: Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation Establishment Bill, 2021; Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission Establishment Bill, 2021; Institute of Bitumen Management Establishment Bill, 2021; Explosive Act 1964 Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2021.
Ogah said, “It is unfortunate that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not believe in us. If they believe in us, if they support us the way they are supporting agriculture, we will do wonders for this country.
“This is one ministry that is untapped, that is unknown, that can change the landscape of our revenue.”
Ogah therefore called for support for development of the sector.
The minister also appealed to the Ministry of Finance to speed up the export policy on solid minerals, saying that was the only way to have operators into the sector.
According to him, the federal government has gone ahead to establish processing plants for the solid mineral sector which is currently under construction in all the six geopolitical zones.
Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Tanko Almakura (APC – Nasarawa), said the bills were designed to accelerate diversification of the economy from a mono economy.
He said the bills, when passed, would make the sector more attractive for investors, given the abundance of solid mineral resources in all parts of the country.