Metal exporters laud Fayemi on solid minerals’ blueprint
. Seek inclusive consultation
The Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria has commended the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi for his vision to develop a multi-level developmental blueprint for the Nigerian solid minerals industry and urged the Minister to include industry operators in the process of determining the future of the industry.
Fayemi had recently inaugurated a 17-man committee to develop a 24 month short-term plan, 10-year mid-term plan and 25-year long term plan for the solid minerals industry. The committee is chaired by Professor Ibrahim Garba co-chaired by Professor Siyan Malomo.
President of the association, Seun Olatunji, said the terms of reference of the committee, which included prioritization of activities, development of a consensus strategy for buy-in by all stakeholders in the industry and improvement of the sub-sectional activities along the minerals value chain, reflected a thoughtful directional leadership by the Minister.
Olatunji, who is also the managing director of S.B. Olatunji Global Nigeria Ltd, a metal exploration and exporting firm, said while the Minister has laudable idea and the commitment for the overall good of the industry, there is a need to engage industry operators with visible records of active operations such as members of the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria in fashioning a practicable and realistic blueprint for the industry.
According to him, while the Minister has a good knowledge of a number of challenges affecting the rapid growth of the solid minerals sector, the industry consultation and engagement should be broadened to include key stakeholders like metal exporters.
“For a fact; the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria has not been invited to any of the engagement talks by the Ministry. Yet, we, metal exporters, put several Nigerian-origin solid minerals on the foreign markets map including Lead ore, Zinc ore, Copper ore, Beryl ore, Manganese ore, Cassiterite, Zircon sand, with verifiable, valid NXP forms opened in compliance with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) monetary policies,” Olatunji said.
He noted that there is need for inclusion of those already achieving feat in the sector by generating export proceeds in order to achieve quick gains, pointing out that it would be counterproductive to neglect those with end-to-end knowledge on the conversion of the available base metals, minor metals and others into the much desired foreign exchange for the Nigerian economy as it stands today.
“Opportunity to contribute their quotas should be made accessible to those who have the practical know-how in selling Nigeria’s metallic minerals in exchange for forex. Let’s not shove aside these critical stakeholders; who account for over 80 per cent of the solid minerals export proceeds into the CBN coffers and by extension the commercial deposit banks,” Olatunji urged.
He pointed out that the metallic solid mineral exporters actually finance directly the artisanal miners spread across the geopolitical zones of the country as the deposit money banks will not finance any artisanal miner directly; therefore, the exporters take the risks; – obtain high interest rates loans from the commercial banks to give support to the artisanal miners through advance payment options for their products and working capital.
“It is known for a fact that the export proceeds data captured by CBN from sales of mostly metallic solid minerals of Nigerian origin were achieved as a result of the activities of the various exporters in conjunction with the artisanal miners cutting across the various mineralized states in Nigeria,” Olatunji said.
He said while the industry consultation must necessarily include government agencies affiliated to the ministry of solid minerals, the academia, other consultants and the miners association of Nigeria, which seemed so far to have the attention of the Minister towards policy formulation, the consultation should include metal exporters and other practicing industry operators in order to drive the much desired growth in the sector.
“It is important not to ignore the quick gains which can be made by gathering the challenges militating against the export trade of Nigerian origin solid minerals in the international market today. Only the exporters can paint a true picture of these challenges, because they have to contend with both local and international parties in the course of the trade,” Olatunji said.
The Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria is the umbrella body of most active metal exporting firms in Nigeria and its members account for the largest share of foreign exchange income from solid minerals exports.