coalThe acting Director General, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, Mr. Nwegbu Ndubuisi, said the slow development in the mineral and metal sector is as a result of lack of patience.

Ndubuisi in an exclusive interview with Vanguard disclosed that past administrations and the private sector had failed to show resilience and commitment to invest in the solid minerals sector as it requires high level of painstaking effort to get the desired results.

Ndubuisi said: “It requires the understanding of the administrators on the workings of solid minerals sector, because a lot of people are not patient with the processes that lead to the activities of the sector. For instance, if you invest money in exploration before you get to the level to establish a mine and it starts yielding revenue to the government, it will require not less than five to 10 years.

“So a lot of governments are not patient enough to see through this gestation period of five to 10 years before being rewarded with the investment. You find out that you could give in money from one or two years, and if they do not have the immediate returns to satisfy their expectations they feel that the money has been wasted. So they draw back in funding the sector further. It is also part of the problem in the sector.

“You find out that it is a very capital intensive sector, and not many Nigerians have the patience and level of capital of investment. They would rather go and import something and sell, and within six months that will multiply their income, but in the case of solid minerals it does not just come that way.”

He also lamented the neglect of the sector for so long by past administrations and failure to diversify the country’s economy towards the solid minerals sector. Therefore cautioned the government not to hinge the economy on a mono-culture economic system, which was capable of affecting the economy negatively.

“Nigeria has no choice than to diversify the economy considering the endowment we have in the solid minerals sector, and it can only serve us good if we diversify into the sector, because it is not going to just provide enormous employment opportunities for our teeming youths.“It will provide raw materials for our industries, attracting foreign players and would bring the foreign direct investment which we so crave. These are the benefits of our diversifying into the solid minerals sector, Ndubuisi stated.