•Metal exporters seek to partner with govt

Nigeria can generate at least N5 trillion annually from mining and exporting of its vast solid mineral deposits, with several multiplier effects on job creations, state development and social infrastructure that could make the solid minerals sector as the main catalyst for the national development.

At a press briefing at the weekend in Lagos, the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria called on the Federal Government to provide the enabling environment for the development of the Nigerian solid minerals sector. Metallic solid minerals are the most exported solid minerals from Nigeria.

The association, which comprises of various companies in the business of metal export, praised the focus of the Honourable Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, and expressed its readiness to partner with the government in the development of the Nigerian solid minerals sector.

President, Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Mr. Seun Olatunji, said there is need for synergy between government agencies and private operators to unlock the values in solid minerals sector.

He noted that with not less than 38 viable solid mineral deposits in sustainable export quantity in Nigeria, the solid minerals sector has the potential to generate not less than N5 trillion annually once the government put in place necessary frameworks.

He pointed out that the solid minerals industry could serve as the much-needed solution to unemployment as the development of the value chain from mining to export can create more than five million jobs.

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“We are glad that the current government is serious about solid minerals and diversification of the .Government should come up with policies that will enable Nigerians to benefit optimally from the country natural resources,” Olatunji said.

According to him, there is need for government regulatory agencies such as Standards Organisation of Nigeria (ON) to work with established private sector companies under the auspices of Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria to develop globally acceptable regulatory standards for Nigerian metallic exports.

He noted that Nigeria has been losing considerable values due to the absence of efficient regulations and standards for metal exports.

“Our vision is to have a solid minerals industry where all operators along the value chain are well compensated and where Nigeria can realise the full potential of its God-given natural resources,” Olatunji said.

Vice President, Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Mr. Bamidele Ayemibo, underscored the need for government to consider viable public private partnership (PPP) option to develop basic infrastructure such as crushing plant and standardised weighing bay among others.

According to him, with a crushing plant, government should put in place a general policy that ensures that all metal exports are crushed and SON and other regulatory agencies should see to the enforcement of standards in the solid minerals exports in order to ensure that Nigerian exports are competitive in the global market.

General Secretary, Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Mrs Kemi Ayo-Ogunkeye, added that standard-setting will bring values to Nigerian businesses and Nigeria as this will not only enhance the volume of transactions but also the reliability of the business.

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She said the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria is willing to support government efforts in developing the solid minerals exports noting that members of the association as established operators have the wherewithal to contribute meaningfully to the government’s efforts at developing the sector.

In his remarks, financial secretary, Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Mr. Adegbola Ilori, said the association would also interface with the National Assembly to seek review of existing laws and to promote new laws that could help the development of the solid minerals industry.

He praised the policy initiative aimed at encouraging state governments to play actively in the development of solid minerals in their domains, noting that such a policy could be a major solution to the cash crunch bedeviling many states and help to stop rural-urban drift.

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