By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja.
As Nigeria seeks to develop its solid minerals sector as a means to diversifying it’s economy, a Gap Analysis Report has described the Nigeria mineral management regime as sound but insufficient.
This was the outcome of the draft Report,presented at a one day validation workshop organised by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),which held in Abuja on Thursday, June 15, 2017
The Workshop with theme the Validation of the African Mining Vision(AMV) revealed that the soundness of the mineral management regime lies in the extent to which the law obliges the state to set up and fund a solid minerals development fund for the development of the sector. Including the provision of Extension Services to registered Artisanal mining cooperatives.
It added that the addition of community development agreement(CDA) is well intentioned although it lacks certain specifics such as defining who in the community are mandated to negotiate as well as defining the community itself. It also adds that the enactment of the NEITI Act is also a very commendable step.
The Report presented by UNDP George Lwanda traced the insufficiency of the regime to its weak emphasis on human rights and gender issues,weak community participatory decision making and it’s lack of obligatory participatory processes through out the mining life cycle.
The Report in its recommendations called for the Implementation of established laws and regulations, implementation of the Roadmap bearing in mind existing laws,policies and strategies, domestication of international treaties as well as the improvement of the country’s Geological information which it affirmed the government is clearly tackling.
In his Keynote address, the Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Alh. Abubakar Bawa-Bwari had said the validation of the African Mining Vision Gap Analysis Report was very critical and strategic given the present economic realities and government renewed vision in revamping the sector along its entire value chain.
The Minister noted that “the Solid Mineral sector in Nigeria had remained underdeveloped due to long period of neglect and dependence on crude oil to which he said government had implemented a number of reforms aimed at addressing the sector’s underdevelopment to ensure that the various natural resources of the country are harnessed for self-sustained growth and development.
“In view of this, solid mineral was identified as a major driver in the diversification drive of the economy away from oil, by creating the enabling environment for full involvement of the private sector in the development of the sector”he said
Alhaji Bwari asserted “that the abysmal contribution of 0.33% of the sector to GDP is considered unacceptable and this administration is determine more than ever to increase the sector’s contribution to national growth and development on a sustainable path – thus developing the Roadmap for the sustainable growth and development of the Solid Mineral”