The 56th annual conference of Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has opened in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, with the body expressing support for Federal Government diversification initiative.
The association says it is in full support of the government diversification effort, which proffers solid minerals as a viable option for laying strong foundation for the nation’s economic development.
According to NACCIMA, solid minerals sector is capable of creating 3 million jobs – direct and indirect by the year 2017, and wants government to vigorously implement it development.
In his address at the opening ceremony, Bassey Edem, national president of NACCIMA, said the body was happy with the ongoing focus by government on solid mineral as it exploitation would unlock huge opportunities for national development.
Edem said his association was particularly glad that government’s diversification programme would help build a virile nation as well as sustained growth and development in all areas of the economy where everyone would have equal opportunity to contribute his quota.
The theme of this year’s conference: ‘Diversification of the Nigerian Economy: Solid Minerals in Focus,’ expressed in clear terms the need for diversification.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics, as at 2014, the contribution of solid minerals sector to the Nigerian economy was just 1 percent. The solid minerals sector has potential to increase to at least 5 percent by the year 2017, and 10 percent by the year 2020. The sector is also capable of creating 3 million jobs – direct and indirect by the year 2017,” he said.
In view of the strategic importance solid minerals sector poses to the nation’s quest for diversification, Edem charged government to ensure an orderly development of policy, and programmes put in place to activate the sector
He said this could be done through provision of clear rules for the exploitation of the minerals and a clearly prescribed pattern of developments with roles of different actors clearly defined.
Furthermore, the president said the seven minerals government had identified as strategic solid minerals be prioritised and promoted for private sector participation and investment.
The identified solid minerals include: gold, coal, bitumen, limestone, iron ore, lead/zinc and barytes, he pointed out.