Mining sector improving towards diversifying Nigeria’s economy – Expert
Story from Abah ADAH, Abuja
Human capital development expert, Habibah Waziri, the managing director/chief executive officer (MD/CEO) of BGR Consulting Limited, has expressed the view that the Nigerian mining sector is on the path to fulfilling its mandate of diversifying the country’s economy away from oil, even as she challenged the federal government to do more in giving the people the right education and training towards capacity optimisation.
Waziri who was speaking to journalists in Abuja at the just concluded Nigerian Mining Week said her organisation has been a development partner in the sector since 2019, and so far there has been some commendable improvements.
“I can safely tell you that so far there’s been a lot of improvements – new policies have been implemented in order to help businesses here and abroad to register and get a license,” she said, commending the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) in terms of skills building and giving out loans to less privileged but willing micro investors to able them launch their own startups whether it is in the exploration or any other part of the value chain.
She said though the attention and support being given to the sector by government is commendable, there was still room for improvement, especially in the area of educating and sensitising the people on the huge potentials to increase gainful participation.
She said, “If you notice from a few years ago up until now there is a certain mining rush that is happening. Everyone is trying to get into the mining sector, whether or not they know how to operate the business, they are still trying to get into it. The government what they can do more is education.
“They need to raise more awareness about diversifying the economy in mining actually. So creating step by step programmes where people can actually learn about the business as well as facilitating connections and collaborations are some of the areas to be worked on. People need clear directions.”
Another thing she stressed was security. According to her, it is very necessary that the government ensures there is adequate security.
“The last thing I can say about the government intervention is that security is such a huge challenge not just in the mining sector. It is challenging our everyday lives. Regular business owners can no longer operate the way they used to operate just because of insecurity. It is of utmost importance. We need to find a way to do better so we can help the economy.”
She said if adequately attended to, the mining sector has the potential of improving the financial fortunes of the country.
“Any country that is under strenuous activity bringing in another source of revenue is also going to help ease that burden. Oil and gas cannot sustain us forever. We need to invest more in the mining sector to improve the economy,” she said.