By Obinna Agommuo- Executor Director, Economic Strategic Growth And Development Initiative of Africa (ESGADIA)
Lately, some State Governors argued that the Mines in Nigeria belong to the Federal Government and as such can’t really do much as they said their hands are tied.
Let me submit to us without any fear of contradiction, that though the Mines belong to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the State Governments reserves the right like every other entity to acquire licenses covering the mines in their States and even outside the states through vehicles that can be established by the State Governments. These licenses are renewable upon expiration like every other license issued in Nigeria by the Federal Government.The Governors should go to work and stop giving excuses as more jobs would be created if they truly mean to alleviate the suffering of the citizens of their States.I said it before and am repeating it here, I don’t know of any country on this planet earth as rich as Nigeria in Natural Resources, so what excuse do we have not to have our youths gainfully employed?What must our Governors do to attract real Private investors to harness the potentials in the various mines in their States?I recommend that the State Governments do the following among others:
1. Register vehicles (entities) to drive investments in their various States.
2. Apply to the Federal Ministry of Solid Mineral in Nigeria after identifying the various mines in their States through the help of the Geological Maps of their states. The Geological Maps of the States are readily available at the Mining Cadastre departement of the Ministry of Solid Minerals.
3. Engage the services of qualified Geologists to carry out geological surveys on the various Mine deposits to establish the reserve estimates of each mine.
4. Engage the services of triple-A rated Accounting firms to work with the Geologists to do proper business plans and feasibility studies of the various mines that are of high commercial values. The Business plans/Feasibility Studies prepared by the triple A-rated Accounting firms, provision of Land and equity of not more than 20% of the cost of the project are what the State Governments require if they must attract high profile private investors to their various states for investments that might worth hundreds of millions of dollars. No Private investor would invest in a State under a PPP Programme when the State Government cannot show the least capacity to secure a healthy partnership of mutual benefit.
Besides the opportunity of providing employment for their citizens, the State Governments can distinguish themselves as proud owners of various mining firms, beneficiation and value chain industries in their various states, capable of employing every single unemployed youth in their States , thereby creating wealth and drastically reducing poverty in the various States of the Federation. Let it be known that the Federal Government’s claim of ownership of the Mines does not deprive the State Governments from seeking for licenses to operate on the mines. Needless to say the State Governments reserve the first right of refusal of the licenses for the various mines in their States if they are truly serious to collectively help eradicate poverty from Nigeria and by extension, Africa. The Governors should realize that the various mine deposits located in their States are not for monumental exhibitions of some sort neither are they in the States by accident, but are meant to be harnessed to their full effect on their state economy and for the benefit of the generality of people. The idea of Nigerian State Governors relying on Federal allocations to run the affairs of the States while playing hosts to Natural resources that worth trillions of dollars must stop. The State Governments must as a matter of urgency set up research teams to research on alternative solutions to wealth creation using the enormous mineral resources in their States. In my next article we shall be looking at the various potentials locked in the Mineral deposits in the various states of the Federation so that those of us who are Nigerians can appreciate God for creating us as Africans in this great continent, sorry permit me to use the word “Rich-but-poor Continent”. Africa should be unveiled to Africans especially our youth of today so they can appreciate the land of their root. Thank you and may God be with us all.