By Sunday Okobi
Chairman of NASAMAN Mining Company Limited, an indigenous mining firm, Mamman Ali has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare an emergency in the mining sector as a practical demonstration of his seriousness to revitalise the non-oil sector to improve Nigeria’s revenue base for economic development.
Ali made the call recently in Abuja during the conferment of awards on some top management of the company by the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC).
Those that bagged the awards included the company’s Executive Director, Foreign Relations, Alhaji Ahmed Shehu Yarádua, and the Executive Director, Legal Services, Abba Mohammed, who equally bagged awards of Fellow of the Institute respectively in recognition of their outstanding professional standing and corporate governance excellence.
In a statement issued by Communication Assistant, Goshem Media Nigeria, Mr. Kelvin Gods’will Musa, Ali expressed confidence that if the president declares an emergency in the sector, it would instantly send the right signal to the international investing community about federal government’s seriousness in turning around the fortunes of the sector towards harnessing its full potential.
The NASAMAN boss also called on the government to follow up the declaration with the provision of a mining intervention fund as a mechanism to give practical expression to its intention to boost non-oil revenue accruable to the government to implement its major programmes in this year’s budget currently before the National Assembly.
According to him, investors are anxiously waiting for government’s budgetary policy direction as a means of determining the direction of their capital, pointing out that investors are more attracted to where there is concrete and genuine institutional safeguard to their investment as well as minimise their cost and maximise their profit.
He pointed out that a presidential declaration of an emergency in the sector will go a long way in boosting the chances of success of the president’s current economic diplomacy.
Ali argued that critics of the President Buhari’s foreign trips often miss the point when they do not understand the issues involved in today’s globalised investment space such as in mining where huge capital inflow is imperative.
He disclosed that his company, NASAMAN, which started mining in 2000 was convinced of success notwithstanding that the terrain was characterised by obscurity, under-development, low artisanal skills compounded by institutional tardiness which he blamed for the current massive importation of salt and iron ore by which government is losing huge revenue if produced locally.
‘’We are pleased to see our pioneering efforts being appreciated today. For over 15 years now, we have been at the forefront of advocacy for a major shift from a mono-product economy to a multi-product economy where fresh focus should be given to the mining sector. It is particularly imperative now that since crude oil sales have continued to tumble, we have to explore the non-oil sector where mining holds the ace for the country,’’ he said.
According to him, the mining sector can sufficiently create over five million jobs, raise government’s revenue base significantly, accelerate economic diversification, attract foreign direct investment and contribute to the rapid social, economic and institutional development of the mining communities across the country.