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Senate urges focus on solid minerals to diversify economy

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Lawan

To diversify the economy, Nigeria must up the ante in exploring its huge solid mineral deposits, says Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

In his concluding remarks after a bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation (NMDC) scaled second reading on the floor yesterday, he said the exploration of solid minerals, besides being an avenue to diversify the economy, remained a sure way for the country to improve its Foreign Exchange earnings and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures.

He said: “It is imperative that the Nigerian economy is diversified, and the solid minerals, definitely, is one avenue through which we can earn the much-needed foreign exchange.”

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“I also believe that we have a long way to go; we haven’t done enough. At the moment, there are very little investments into this sector and the contribution of the sector to our GDP is just about 0.3 per cent, even as we are so blessed with solid minerals all over the country.”

Earlier, sponsor of the NMDC Bill 2021, Senator Umaru Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa South) said the intendment of the bill was to strategically diversify Nigeria’s economy from being a mono-product economy to the productive development of various sectors of economy.

According to the lawmaker, next to agriculture, the solid mineral sector has been identified as a potential to compete and eventually replace crude oil as a major source of foreign exchange earnings.

He added: “The Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) created focus labs made up of professionals from the mining sector to create intervention programmes to de-risk the solid mineral sector and increase revenue for all stakeholders, making the sector more attractive to both local and foreign investors.”

The bill, after it was exhaustively debated, was referred by the Senate President to the Committee on Solid Minerals, which was given four weeks to report back.

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