The World Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences have called on Nigeria to develop the mining sector of its economy to cushion the effect of the coronavirus disease.
This call was made in a statement issued by the Media Officer of the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project, IshakuKigbu, after a crucial virtual Mid-Term Review of the three organisations to look at the role of the mining sector in minimising the impact of COVID-19 and the global oil crisis.
The MTR of the MinDiver was designed to evaluate the role of mining in helping the country cushion the adverse effect of the pandemic, which has also contributed to the global oil crisis.
They called on the Nigerian government to harness the economic potential of the sector, which has been largely untapped, even as the global prices of oil continues to fall, resulting in dwindling government revenues.
Highlighting some solid mineral resources that have high demand in the international market, the trio advised the government to focus on iron ore, battery minerals, cobalt, lithium, gemstone, jewellery, barite, phosphate among others.
According to the organisations, Barites, also used in the oil industry, are well in demand in the international market; including phosphate used for fertiliser and limestone used in the construction industry.
According to the Task Team Leader at the World Bank, Mike Stanley, Nigeria should not wait for oil prices to rebound, as this would not yield expected result due to over-supply of the commodity from other producing nations, rather it should rethink deeply on focusing on developing the money-spinning and revenue-generating solid minerals.
“Nigeria should begin to think of a need to develop a One-Stop-Shop and understand what investors need and want as well as focus on value-added processing which will, in turn, create jobs without being moved out of the country in this COVID period,” Stanley said.
HabeebJayeola of PwC said it was high time the Nigerian government looked into the sector as essential.
His words, “As a mono economy dependent on oil, which unfortunately has gone down without assurance of going up, and attendant limited markets for exports due to fall in global demand, the Nigerian government must begin to see the mining sector as essential.”
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