The Minister of Solid Minerals, Fayemi Kayode, should consider these five things to diversify Nigeria’s economy
Fayemi Kayode, the ex-Governor of Ekiti State, is the newly appointed Minister of Solid Minerals for Nigeria, following a nomination and selection process overseen by President Buhari. Following his appointment, the enthusiastic Minister pledged his commitment to transform the Nigerian solid minerals sector.
Transformation for the sector largely involves prioritising an upgrade programme, in order to inspire much needed economic diversification in the country. This would also see an improvement in the area of revenue generation that is not entirely oil-oriented, and provision of job opportunities for Nigerians.
Speaking to members of the press in Ekiti State, the new Minister had underscored his determination to uphold the integrity that Buhari has displayed in his approach to governing the country, and honor the confidence placed in him and his team by the president, who entrusted such a sensitive project to him. He intends to do this by getting rid of the major challenges plaguing the solid minerals sector such as illegal mining, corruption within the ministry and a lack of adequate technology for the workers. According to him, his passion in the area stems from the fact that his state of origin, Ekiti, is home to many mineral deposits scattered around its territory that are not being utilised, as well as the President’s vision.
Nigeria is home to an abundance of mineral resources, however the country is losing by neglecting these resources. A reason for this lack of proper utilisation is the absence of a working structure to ensure that the country is focused on developing the tools useful for maximising results. These tools include, mining, sufficient budget allocation, and investment.
Here are five things that Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Minerals should focus on during his time in office, in order to help Nigeria realise economic sustenance.
1. Put the Nigerian society first in benefiting from solid minerals, then improve the sector to accommodate international needs
One of Nigeria’s major concerns is to become a recognised exporter and generate foreign earnings in revenue. As a country that is very dependent on oil exports, Nigeria needs to utilise its natural resources more, given its lack of power, modern infrastructure, and inability to make the most of the manufacturing industry. If Nigeria intends to leave its status of “developing nation” behind, the new minister would have to focus on channeling the resources into developing the economy, in areas such as infrastructure, where it is lacking. Also, he should aim to maintain a good quality in resources, as this would subsequently account for the level of reception that it would get in the international market, as regards purchase and investment in the sector.
2. Focus on creating an enabling environment in which he is not just a figure head
According to Kayode, he is not an expert in matters concerning solid minerals, even though he is confident that his experience as Governor would help him get far. However, the current state of the sector, as well as the level of transformation that it requires, needs more than mere experience if a complete turnaround would be achieved. Thus, the minister needs to gain sufficient knowledge on the subjects under his new title, rather than simply surround himself with experts in the field. A result of which can be delegating every single aspect to them, and might cause a loss of interest along the way. The best way to secure change is to truly understand its purpose and factors and be a part of it as much as possible.
3. Make mining an important and respectable career for the Nigerian youth to aspire to
Famous business icons such as Antonio Deinde Fernandez and Dangote are proof that there is a more to the industry than currently meets the eye. Despite the presence of mining engineering courses and geosciences in some higher institutions, mining is not a popular profession in the Nigerian society, speak less of it being a ‘prestigious’ one. A more aggressive introduction of the subject into academics should be a focus, in order to promote the country’s long-term economic goals.
4. Integrate the illegal miners
The new Minister and the Federal Government plans to eliminate the presence and activities of illegal mining, as a first point of duty. Although this is crucial for purging and developing the sector, the authorities in the industry should consider creating jobs for those illegal miners who have displayed proper skill in the field, as this would also serve to facilitate recordable progress in making the most of the resources, and moving on to other pressing challenges.
5. Be exemplary within the Nigerian government
In summary, Kayode should ‘walk the talk’. Issues like insufficient budget allocation, corruption, and a general slow pace in achieving certain goals will pose a challenge, but the journey to change is not supposed to be hurdle-free. Nigerian government officials should complain less about the problems that they are bound to face and work more towards discovering a way to tackle them, which includes teamwork with their colleagues, with respect to their offices.