Miners caution government over sycophancy, cabals in minerals development
The Federal Government has been warned against patronising sycophants and cabals in the solid minerals sector, in its quest to diversify the nation’s economy to forestall past mistakes.
The Progressive Miners Association of Nigeria (PMAN), which gave the warning also believes that the unbundling of the sector can become a reality, and that it was high time the government carried out a comprehensive turnaround in solid minerals development.
The National President of PMAN, Sunny Ekozin, during an interaction with journalists in Abuja, also counselled President Muhammadu Buhari to exert constitutional authority over the sector by making it an alternative foreign exchange earner for positive economic growth.
He observed that the current move by the administration to focus on solid minerals and agriculture to make them major sectors that can diversify the economy would soon pay off it they were accorded proper attention.
Ekozin recalled, “In 1995, when the Ministry of Solid Minerals came on board, some fraudulent persons under the association ‘Solid Minerals Exporters of Nigeria,’ cornered N500 million, which late Gen Sani Abacha, allocated for the stimulation of the sector.”
According to him, “As practitioners in the sector, we know full details of the potential and workings in the mining sector because it holds the key to economic diversification, rather than to depend on oil and gas for foreign exchange earnings.
“When the sector is revamped in line with the roadmap, it would contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of the country. It means that the right thing has been done to stimulate the funding of the solid mineral sector.”
He, however, maintained that there are fundamental problems in the sector, which both the government and miners must accept, and enable stakeholders take the right decisions and measures to salvage the industry.
“The Constitution and Minerals and Mining Act, vest the administration of solid minerals on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The potential of the sector is huge and could be a panacea to youth unemployment.
“Until President Muhammadu Buhari exercises his political will on this, it will still remain in comatose. All the noise and politicking is going to be stage-managed by the cabals. If the President takes ownership sanity will come to the sector.
“The solid minerals sector can offer employment to our teeming youths in the country. In terms of revenue generation it is accepted to both ‘friends and foes’ of the sector that the sector is the key to
Economic recovery,” he added.
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