That Nigeria as a country is overdependent on petrodollar is an understatement, the reality is that the country is almost reduced to a monolithic economy. However, with the alarming and growing uncertain trends in the global oil market and price, it has become obvious that the country economy can not continue as it has in the past.
The shifting trends regarding the cost, demand, and supply for oil which is affecting the global economy and the outlook for investment and economic growth is pronounced on the economy of the country. Moreso, there are serious crux for reducing oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions globally.
The new reality in the oil industry represents a fundamental change for the global economy, requiring more and more capital to maintain oil supply, and higher prices to sustain investment. Adaptation to this new economic realities is even more reason why the country should demystify the cruel oil.
In a bid to ensure that the economy is diversify away from the present state of dependence on oil, the government should ensure that other invaluable resources of the country are efficiently exploited and utilised with the guarantee and assurance that the proceedings will not siphoned or misappropriated in any form.
It is a fact that Nigeria has major natural resources that have not been well explored or exploited. Transformation of the Nigeria economy will not be achieved until the exploration and upgrade programme of the national resource other than crude oil is given main concern. In order to inspire much needed economic diversification in the country, attention must be given to this neglected resources. This would also see an improvement in the area of revenue generation that is not entirely oil-oriented, and provision of job opportunities for Nigerians.
One of the few things that Nigerians overwhelmingly agree upon is provision of stable power supply, this can be achieved if the country place high priority on utilizing non-crude oil natural resources to increase the country’s electrical generating capacity.
The government should revitalize the coal mining industry and expand power generation by attracting foreign companies to develop these large coal resources and construct coal-fired generating plants that will connect to the country’s electrical distribution grid. If Nigeria intends to leave its status of “developing nation” behind, it need to focus on channeling the non-crude oil natural resources into developing the economy, in areas such as infrastructure.
As the country regularly encourage the youths to take up agro-business as a means of empowerment, it should be part of the diversification of economy to encourage same youths to equally consider mining as an important and respectable career which they should aspire to get into. Famous business icons such as Antonio Deinde Fernandez and Aliko Dangote are proof that there is a more to the industry than currently meets the eye.
Despite the presence of mining engineering courses and geosciences in some higher institutions, mining is not a popular profession thus more aggressive introduction of the subject into academics should be a focus, in order to promote the country’s long-term economic goals. Since the reformation of education is not the focus at the stage, that will be expanded upon later.
Though eliminating the activities of illegal miners is very crucial for purging and developing the mining sector, the government should consider integrating those small illegal miners into the main stream because they have not only displayed proper skill in the field, it could as well lead to creation of employment for Nigeria youths and it would also facilitate recordable progress in making the most of the resources, and moving on to other pressing challenges in no time.
This might as well address the obvious inadequacy and inability of the personnel in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and create a relationship between mining host communities and the ministry. On the other hand mining licenses could be given to artisanal miners after a due Environmental Impact Assessment must have being carried out. The government should consider setting up a mechanism for the training of community heads, education of artisanal miners, vetting of licenses and monitoring of mining activities.
The government should genuinely consider removing mining from the Federal exclusive list, so that states can be able to regulate mining activities in their domain. This has become expedient because the Federal Government should either be ready to keep funding the state or allow them to generate fund to support themselves.
To be continued….