Abuja – The Senate on Tuesday called for a check on the nation’s unemployment rate in the country through a diversified economy.
Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi made the observation in Abuja at a roundtable on solid mineral sector.
The roundtable is entitled: “Need for continuous implementation of policy reforms for the diversification of the Nigerian economy through solid minerals sector”.
He said that the rate of unemployment in the country gave a concern and could be tackled with the benefits available in the mining sector if harnessed.
While stating that the sector was important to improved Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Abdullahi said that the Senate was concerned about (unemployment) the growth and sustainability of the economy.
“We have a population made up of youths; the average of Nigerian population is between 18 years and 19 years compared with that of Japan.
“So we have immense wealth both human and material; but we have not been able to get our economy working in such a way that we can be in a position to employ the talents of our youthful population for the realisation of value.
“We must be able to identify those wealth underground that we can be able to exploit with minimum investment to be able to realise the full value of the sector,” he said.
He further said that in tackling the challenges in the sector, an administrative framework was required for the operation and successful delivery of the good inherent with the mining industry.
“The second issue is the law. There is no law that brings in the kind of legislation that we want.
Earlier, Sen. Tanko Al-makura, Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines Steel Development and Metallurgy, said that the event was conceived by the Senate, haven seen the passion of President Muhammadu Buhari in ensuring diversification of the economy.
He said that the Senate had identified three sectors, including agriculture, power and solid minerals to see ways and means of fast tracking policy implementation.
Al-makura said that the National Assembly would initiate bills that would help remove bottlenecks in the sector to ensure rapid economic development of Nigeria.
Minister of Mines, Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, said that organised mining would enable government to realise the full potential in the sector.
“We are doing this by attending several mining fora all over the world; we are selling what we have in Nigeria and at the same time attracting the right people,” he said
In a paper presentation, Prof. Gbenga Okunlola spoke on “Nigeria Solid Mineral Sector and its potential as an economic driver”.
He said that the mining industry was the one that grew slowly but the world had come to realise that it could not do without mining.
” The sector is so needed in the development of any nation,” he said