By Ndubuisi Francis
The World Bank has advised Nigeria to develop its mining sector to help mitigate post-COVID-19 ecomomic shocks, rather than wait for a rebound of oil prices in the global market.
The Task Team Leader on the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project at the World Bank, Mr. Mike Stanley, who gave the advise, urged Nigeria not wait for oil prices to rebound as doing so may not yield the expected result because of the possibility of an oversupply of the commodity in the market from other oil-producing countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Stanley recalled that oil prices indicated a decline since 2014, adding that it had become imperative for the Nigerian government to deeply have a rethink by focusing on developing the money-spinning and revenue-generating solid minerals sector, including iron ore, limestone for water carbonates, lithium, cobalt, and generally thinking out of the box, to attract investment.
MinDiver Project at the World Bank in Washington, Mr. Mike Stanley, advised that Nigeria should not delay and wait for oil prices to rebound as it may not be feasible as expected, because there is the possibility for the market to experience an oversupply of the commodity from other oil-producing countries including Saudi Arabia.
In a statement issued on Monday, the World Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences (NIMG), urged the federal government to galvanise the nation’s mining sector in mitigating post-COVID-19 economic shocks.
The statement was issued by the Media Officer, MinDiver Project, Ishaku Kigbu after a crucial session of the Virtual Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the MinDiver Project under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
The review was designed to assess the role of mining in minimising the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic and the global oil crisis.
The organisations urged the government to tap the economic potential of mining with the continued declining oil prices in the global market.
The World Bank, PwC and NIMG noted that some solid minerals, including battery minerals, cobalt, lithium, gemstone, jewelry, barite, and phosphate, among others have high demand at the international market
According to the statement, barites are needed and used in the oil industry; phosphate for the fertiliser industry and limestone to manufacture cement for the construction industry.
It added that the overall objective of the MTR is to review the progress of the MinDiver project with the World Bank, stakeholders of the ministry, and other key actors, as well as look at new ways of integrating mining into the mainstream economy with a view to building Nigeria’s resilience to shocks.
A meeting was held in Abuja on May 28, as part of a six-day MTR schedule planned for an overarching strategy for executing current and planned activities to achieve the project development objectives of MinDiver