‘At 0.29% of total trade, solid minerals sector still at level of potential’
According to them sector has been static for some time, as government and operators in the industry do not have the capacity to reinvigorate the sector.
Latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), showed that during the quarter, solid mineral exports declined by 20.6% against the level recorded in Q3 2018, while imports declined by 5.3%.
The export component of solid minerals trade stood at N7.7billion while imports totalled N17.6 billion.
The major solid minerals export during the quarter was Cement (excluding White cement) which was exported to Niger and Togo in values worth N1.6 billion and N1.0 billion respectively.
The other major solid minerals export was Lead ores and concentrates worth N0.9 billion exported to China.
The President, Miners Association of Nigeria, Shehu Sanni, said for the sector to grow, there is need for a conscious and deliberate action that is strategic and timeline based for the development of the sector, saying that the N30 billion intervention by the present administration to salvage the sector is inadequate.
“What the sector needs is not N30 billion, but sustainable funding for a very long time. For instance a declaration can be made to say 5 per cent of the national budget should be set aside for the development of the solid mineral sector for the next 20 years and implement it properly. This is the kind of investment that would bring life into the sector,” he said.
Sanni appealed to other players in different sectors of the economy to show interest in investing in the sector, saying that there must be a collective interest to complement the efforts of the federal government to resuscitate the sector.
The Chief Executive Officer, Walled Resources Limited, Oyewola Oworu, stated that the solid minerals sector is where it is today, because the initial level of legislation and support for local activities by government were not there, which he said led to a downturn in the mining activities of Nigeria.
He however stated that within the past few years, the present administration has stepped up by creating platforms, legislation and financial support to attract local and foreign investments into the sector.
He said attracting foreign direct investment into the sector is a welcome development, but stressed that the federal government must not allow investors take the resources out of the country unprocessed, while also calling for the enforcement a law to back value addition of the nation’s mineral endowments.
Analysis of solid mineral imports showed that Nigeria imported Crude salt worth N2.3billion and N2.2billion from Namibia and Brazil respectively.
Also, Plasters of calcined gypsum or calcuim sulphate (whether or not coloured) was imported mainly from Turkey at a value of N2.1billion while Gypsum (anhydrite whether or not coloured) was imported mainly from Spain at a value of N1.3billion.
Other Solid minerals like Granite (cut into a square or rectangular shape) worth N1.6 billion were imported from China, while Other coal (whether or not pulverized but not agglomerated) worth N1.1billion was imported from South Africa during the quarter.
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