The Executive secretary of Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF), Hajiya Fatima Umar Shinkafi has posited that the global dwindling oil price which is caused by invention of alternative energy sources will be solved in Nigeria through mining in solid minerals. She made this submission in Abuja at a conference by Nigerian miners. She agrees that the present administration has made consistent effort to diversify the economy unlike what past government had been promising.
She says that apart from oil being a receding commodity that the present administration has taken deliberate steps and pioneer actions. “Apart from the fact that the reality of oil being a receding commodity, forcing us to bend to our knees to look at other resources. There are deliberate steps and actions that are pioneering”, says Umar Shinkafi. She gave an example of the five billion naira facility at the Bank of industry that is meant to be assessed by mines at 5% interest rate.
Hajiya Shinkafi argued that this is a deliberate effort and intervention that will act as catalyst towards giving confidence to the financial sector to support the very risky or abandoned area of financing (the mining sector).
She noted that there are a lot of like minds in the mining sector but stated that the major problem is financial capacity. She lamented that some people some time embark on brown field projects instead of green field and get stocked because the banks don’t finance long term projects.
Mining and exploration is risky, she noted but added that it has thrived in countries like Canada, Australia, Chile and even South Africa. As all these countries and more have gotten it right in mining, she believes that Nigeria can device a better tailor made way of mining that might become an alternative revenue generating centre.
She gave an insight into the activities of Ministry of Mines and Steal development under Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the Minister of State Alhaji Bawa Bwai. “The reconstitution of my agency is another clear step to send out the message that we are open to doing business to finance the sector”, she said.
Continuing, she says her agency is not willing to send out raw materials from the sector any more without adding value to it. She see such act as tantamount to exporting jobs.
The solid mineral sites certified by her agency are over 450 locations in Nigeria. Every state in the country has one form of mineral or the other and she believes that sooner than later states will begin to have internally generated revenue through mining activities.
Mining activities, when fully embraced will create jobs and translate to income to practitioners and the states and also translate to a wider middle class. That was her expectation and that of her agency for revamping the sector.