LCCI STATEMENT ON THE DECLINING PERFORMANCE OF NIGERIA’S SOLID MINERALS MINING SECTOR.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is deeply concerned about the performance of the Nigerian solid mineral sector. The Nigerian mining industry has recorded low performance in the last two quarters. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Mining & Quarrying sector contributed 4.47% to the overall GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023, lower than the contributions recorded in 2022 fourth quarter at 4.51% and lower than the previous quarter at 8.32%.  Despite its immense potential, the mining sector has been hampered by many obstacles, including inadequate infrastructure, regulatory inconsistencies, limited access to financing, and security concerns in mining locations. These challenges have collectively contributed to stifling growth, deterring investments, and impeding the sector’s ability to fulfill its role as a catalyst for industrialization.

As contained in the National Development Plan 2021-2025, Nigeria planned to have laid a solid foundation for the minerals sector to begin catalyzing growth and industrialization in an environmentally sustainable manner by 2025, a year from now. In response to the sector’s poor performance, the Government launched a new mining roadmap in 2016 with the objective of building a world-class minerals and mining ecosystem designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market. All of these were planned to position the sector to contribute 3.0 percent to GDP by 2025. Reaching this goal would lead to Nigeria’s global competitiveness and industrialization aligned with the African Mining Vision. With just a year away, little has been achieved regarding Nigeria’s mining sector.

Despite Nigeria’s enormous mineral resources, the minerals sector is not a major engine of economic growth and receives little investment. The sector produces less than 0.5% of GDP with limited value chain in the economy. Nigeria’s solid minerals are exported with little or no value added. While Nigeria intends to capitalize on the mining sector’s potential, it faces numerous challenges in mineral beneficiation and value addition. These regulatory and legal challenges include inconsistent policies, unclear land tenures, and issues between Federal and State Governments, particularly in the collection of royalties and taxes from licensed miners operating in their domains.

We urge the government to review the mining industry strategy to attract mineral exploration investments, reignite mining project development, accelerate new mineral discoveries, and encourage optimal utilization of Nigerian mineral resources in line with the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) principles for sustainable growth. Furthermore, we urge the government to address the sector’s funding issues and enable enhanced  access to finance for processing value-added minerals based products by establishing seed funds and special incentives to attract foreign and domestic investors.

The Government should seek innovative ways of  revitalizing the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) and the Nigerian Iron Ore and Mining Company (NIOMCO). We have consistently advised that the model of the NLNG management can  be adopted for this purpose. To ramp up investments in this sector, we need to deploy more relevant research and technology to trace more mineral deposits, and make more relevant data available to interested  investors.

The Government should learn from the hindrances we presently experience in the Niger Delta for the failure to allow small scale crude refineries to operate under set  supervision and standards. For the solid minerals sector, we should adopt an inclusive a strategy on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) aligned with development  plans at all levels of government and linked to other national rural sector strategies. This will make the solid minerals sector more integrated  with other activities that generate more jobs in rural areas. We need to support the mining ecosystem with amenities like electricity, good roads, and water.  Mining companies should be engaged  to sign Community Development MOUs with the host communities that will help to create a sustainable operating environment.

If effectively implemented, these proposed measures can revitalize Nigeria’s mining sector and position it as a critical driver of economic growth and development. However, their successful execution requires concerted efforts and collaboration among government agencies, private sector entities, civil society organizations, and local communities. As stakeholders committed to advancing Nigeria’s mining industry, we stand ready to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to overcome the existing challenges and unleash the sector’s latent potential for its contribution to our nation’s development

Dr. Chinyere Almona, FCA

Director-General

Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Wednesday 24 April 2024

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