The Miners Association of Nigeria on Wednesday said in Abuja that solid mineral remains the alternative to the nation’s economic success in the face of continued slide in oil price.
In a statement, the National President of the association, Bani Shehu, acknowledged that the drop remained a source of concern to all stakeholders in the economy.
“MAN wishes to express its deep concern over the continued fall in the price of crude oil and its implications on the national economy.
“In less than six months, the price of oil has dropped so low that the government is practically struggling to survive economically.
“Sad enough, indications show that the price will likely continue to fall,” he said.
Mr. Shehu said if the oil price continued to plunge, the country would face a reduction in foreign exchange and government revenue generation.
He said the nation earned 90 per cent of its foreign exchange from crude oil, adding that “even its annual budget is based on projections made on oil prices and quantity of oil sold.”
Mr. Shehu said it had become imperative that the nation changes its mono-economy status and look towards solid minerals as major revenue earners.
He said it was high time the managers of the nation’s economy explored other areas income generation to make up for the shortfall in oil revenue.
“If oil prices continue to decline, and oil exports don’t improve, then the average Nigerian citizen will notice a sudden and dramatic increase in food and transportation costs.
“We have made several calls on both the federal and state governments to continuously invest a specified per cent of what they earn from oil revenue into solid mineral sector for a rainy day.
“But, unfortunately, they have not listened to us,” he said.
He said that the global demand for solid minerals such as industrial, metallic, energy, exotic gemstones and rear earth minerals had increased at the international market.
Mr. Shehu urged all the presidential candidates in the upcoming general elections to unfold their plan for solid mineral development if elected into power.
“Nigeria has a vast solid mineral base with unlimited potential. It must be harnessed for the development of the country and well being of its citizens,” he said.