2022 budget: FG frustrating solid minerals development goals – Al – Makura

Senator Almakura

The Chairman Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines and Metallurgy, Senator Tanko Al Makura (APC Nasarawa South), declared Thursday that the federal government is frustrating the much desired growth in the solid minerals sector through meagre budgetary allocations on yearly basis.

Al Makura, who is an immediate past Governor of Nasarawa state, made the lamentation while fielding questions from journàlists shortly after submitting the 2022 budget defence report of his committee to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

He said: “We found that the much desired growth in this sector may not be easily achievable without very special allocation to this ministry.

“For the sector, as far as yearly budgetary allocations are concerned, it has always been repetition of meagre allocations.

“For the 2022 fiscal year in particular, during the budget defence various agencies being oversighted by the committee discoveries were made of most of the items provided in the 2021 Budget, which is stereotyping of budget process or garbage in , garbage out,” he said.

He therefore warned that if Nigeria truly desires economic development and diversification, especially in the solid minerals sector in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, there must be some initiatives in ensuring that the budget is pragmatic and progressive .

“What we observed is that a lot of things that were provided for last year appeared to have come again this year. There appears to be some kind of stereotyping of the budget and if we really consider the need for economic growth and diversification which is very much sought for, there has to be some initiatives in ensuring that the budget is a pragmatic budget.

“The President considers solid minerals among the sectors that will drive the process of diversification, but given the paltry allocations to the ministry on yearly basis, such desired expectations may not be easily met,” he stressed.

He appealed to the committee to consider ways and means of finding a special funding to the Ministry of Solid Minerals, warning that otherwise, those things the Ministry is expected to achieve might not be realisable, especially looking at the concern and the passion Nigeria has for the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

He lamented that for the past two years when the initiative was put forward to reactivate the Ajaokuta Steel Company, there has not been any meaningful allocation to the company.

“With that, the much expected takeoff or reactivation of the company might not be made, except where there is a special fund. I would like to request the chairman to look passionately into this request.

“There is great hope for the solid mineral industry to grow. In the budget we presented today, the framework for effective growth is there, what is lacking is the funding, because there is so much talk about economic growth and diversification, which the solid mineral sector is supposed to drive among other sectors like agriculture, power.

“This may not be realised if certain special consideration is not made to this Ministry to drive the process. Not only the solid mineral, which has the capacity to create across the country because given the natural endowment, every state has in this country. There is no state that does not have one kind of solid mineral or another.

“So, the government should take into consideration the widespread presence of these minerals across the States and the funding should be in tandem with this multiplicity of opportunities across the states”, he said.

But in his earlier remarks during the budget report presentation, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Jibrin Barau ( APC Kano North), said a lot of money has been spent to revive Ajaokuta Steel Company, yet it has remained in a state of decay.

He said the company has not been utilised to its installation capacity, saying the situation calls for the involvement of everybody to make sure the company is resuscitated, given its importance to Nigeria’ s diversification and industrialization policies .

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