The mining sector contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has dropped to 0.55 percent due to insecurity, power outages and other challenges in the country.
Experts revealed this during an online summit organized by Women in Mining (WIMIN) yesterday, even as they argued that mining has potentials to make over 40 percent contribution to Nigeria’s GDP.
A Development Economist and Advisory Board member of the US—Africa Trade Council, Mr. Olusiji Aina stressed this while making a presentation at the virtual meeting monitored by News Diet.
Olusiji bemoaned the current security threats in the nation, noting that some Indian and Chinese miners were recently kidnapped at their mining sites in Kogi state.
Giving explanations on the path to recovery for the nation’s mining industry, he stressed that the role of government must be redefined to that of administrator-regulator.
Olusiji, however, posited that the industry’s focus should directed towards private sector as owner-operators and he encouraged women in mining and other industry players to explore alternative sources of power.
He expressed confidence that having a separate Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to handle the growth and development of the sector will expedite the industry’s growth.
Olusiji asserted that there is more awareness about the sector and more fiscal support from banks, but he stressed the need for greater partnerships with the African Development Bank to promote infrastructure growth.
Also speaking at the meeting, a Trade Policy expert at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Nadia Hasham observed that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) provides new opportunities for women in mining, agribusiness, value-added agro processing, and other downstream and upstream value-addition activities.
Her words: “AfCFTA recognizes the importance of gender equality and improving export capacity of informal suppliers, MSMEs, women/youth. Export-oriented agro-industries may provide new, better employment opportunities with better wages and working conditions in formal agro-processing.”
While stressing that AfCFTA would increase exports of agriculture and other minerals within Africa, Nadia encouraged WIMIN to participate fully in the activities of Nigeria’s AfCFTA Implementation Committee to be able to project their interests.
She argued that Nigeria has a comparative advantage in mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes, but lamented that women only represent 6.8% of Nigeria’s extractives industry.
Noting that World Bank Data (2014) shows female-owned firms in Nigeria are overwhelmingly exporters (83.4%), she encouraged WIMIN to consider value addition through regional value chains, leverage trade and transport corridors, including investments; advocate for energy and infrastructure improvements and consider environmental impacts and opportunities for green value chains.