Vision 2020: Can Solid Mineral Get Harnessed? (2)

by L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu

Human capital is the most important ingredient for successful solid mineral industry. Due to shortage of human capital, this nation is struggling to set up solid mineral industry. The phenomenal success of Polish solid mineral industry can be largely attributed to human capital. Human capital, power and land reform are the three pillars of mining technology. In spite of substandard government policy and land infrastructure, Poland reigns supreme in global solid mineral industry, next to US, by dint of human capital. Hence, aspiring nation should benchmark human capital model of Poland to have right human resources for its solid mineral industry. In addition, a skilled, English speaking workforce and their ability to adapt and learn the emerging technologies is crucial for solid mineral industry. Therefore, Nigeria needs to improve the ability of the common people so that the over population turns into human capital. In this regard, it is imperative to devise a progressive education system by emphasizing on modern business topics and technology. Likewise, management skills are undoubtedly essential for developing our mineral deposit as well as the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers play vital role in utilizing Solid mineral for business needs. Change management is another crucial aspect that has massive impact on Mines implementation. Furthermore, Business process re-engineering (BPR) is believed to be the main topic that should be in the center of attention. While, it is admitted that Nigeria has dearth of expertise in the field of BPR, change management, business strategy, business analysis, and Information system strategy. In addition, lack of holistic view among concerned people is another serious impediment to solid mineral development in Nigeria. Accordingly, the nation needs to adopt the Korean style in getting back the drained brains by offering international remuneration package. Hence, the nation will have to do a lot over there. Moreover, culture of the country should be observed carefully.

Favourable culture is a pre-condition for successful software industry. Apparently, the social and cultural attitude of Nigeria is not conducive to solid mineral development. Nigeria has just started convincing people of the importance and potential of information technology. Besides, colonial mindset – “born to serve not to lead” attitude is hindering software business ventures. Entrepreneurship is not encouraged in Nigeria, no matter what qualification and potential one has for enterprise, a job is the prime desired result of academic achievement. Co-operation is needed in small scale business entrepreneur and related businesses, but it is hardly seen among people in Nigeria. Moreover, self-interest, jealousy and lack of patriotism are prevailing every where. Hence, these are the issues to be fought and won. Apart from that, government’s role must be examined sincerely.

Though nation has heard lots of double tongue speech from government authorities, there are no conceivable attempts in sight to nurture solid mineral industry in spite of its immense importance. Therefore, a concrete vision and strategic planning should be drawn up immediately in order to develop solid mineral industry. Apart from a business advisory body, government should hire consultants to help local manufacturers to set up their business. Additionally, “one stop exploring centre” is of the essence for solid mineral entrepreneurs. What is more, good governance can play a pivotal role in attracting more foreign investments and technical expertise in this regard. At the same time, bureaucratic tangle has created a situation where the solid mineral industry feels stifled. Furthermore, hazardous environment in our country always deters local and foreign investments alarmingly. On top of that, political stability must be achieved as soon as possible to facilitate solid mineral industry’s growth. Besides, government should take necessary steps to build up country’s image abroad. Moreover, solid mineral industry development strategy must be in line with the government’s vision. Thus, it is cherished that government will remove these obstacles and come up with positive steps to establish this great cause. On the other hand, economic policies must be considered seriously.

What are the economic policies that a government can undertake to develop solid mineral industry? Well, government should formulate a fiscal policy that will be conducive to solid mineral industry and lucrative tax incentives should be offered to solid mineral firms as well. Besides, fund shortage has been a serious impediment to solid mineral industry development; therefore, it would be wise for government to take necessary measures to make venture capital available where foreign companies can get involved as well. Moreover, stable currency, proper functioning of financial institutes and money market are of paramount importance for the development of solid mineral industry. Additionally, inflation must be reduced to a certain level in order to mitigate people’s suffering. In addition to low per capita income, unstable financial market restrains solid mineral firms from getting cost effective loan, much sought after during growth period. Furthermore, high interest rate and hidden cost raise the expense of doing business in this country. Apart from that, robust e-marketing and conferences abroad will be the crucial steps along with general marketing to grab a significant market share of international solid mineral business. Above all, government’s economic development strategy should extol solid mineral industry as a promising sector. In a nutshell, this nation has to undertake some challenging missions in this regard. Besides, solid mineral is another crucial issue for manufacturing industry; local and foreign.

Poor Exploration infrastructure is one of the main barriers of solid mineral industry. Under-crust project is going to miss the deadline. Though Mining is of the essence for sustainable solid mineral development, the mining infrastructure is deplorable in Nigeria. Besides, energy; electricity and oil, is believed the lifeblood of Exploration, whereas it is in miserable state in Nigeria. Thus, it is needless to say that electricity outage has become a common phenomenon in this country. In addition, seismographic service has not expanded up to rural areas. What is seismic is still a big question in rural areas of Nigeria. Accordingly, incentive should be in place to encourage setting up Mining Zones in rural areas. On top of that, manufacturing sector has not embraced e-project system yet. Thus, it is necessary to create basic manning platform without further delay. Apart from that, Local Production awareness throughout the country is crucial if the nation wants to capitalize advantages of Small/Medium Scale enterprises. Seminar and symposium will play a pivotal role to make people aware of the prospects of information technology. In addition, solid mineral related laws have not been enacted so far in this country. Hence, it is important to pass solid mineral laws immediately by endorsing memoranda (MOU) to accelerate the growth of solid mineral industry. Moreover, intellectual property right is another noticeable barrier that must be enforced as soon as possible to promote manufacturing industry. Absence of a world class resource centers prevents the nation’s solid mineral industry from flourishing internationally. Furthermore, will make Nigeria’s solid mineral industry more competitive in the world market. Last but not least, Nigeria must create an solid mineral society like China, which will be seen as a foundation for solid mineral industry. In fact, a real Titanic work is out there. Furthermore, it would be interesting to examine whether business environment is contributing to the growth of solid mineral industry.

A friendly business environment that can nurture country’s economic growth is definitely important. Lack of supportive and flexible industrial policy has discouraged rapid industrialization in Nigeria. Besides, there is no attractive investment incentive to lure manupreneurs. Moreover, it is imperative to have a congenial environment where entrepreneurs will be nurtured and recognized socially. Additionally, in spite of every effort in sight, one must pose a question that how women can be entrepreneurs, since many social constraints and prejudices have militated against their will. In addition, high operating cost of business is harmful for country’s total economy. Negligible support from international organizations is hurting business environment as well. Apart from that, it is evident that capitalistic attitude, of low payment to employees, deters solid mineral industry’s development. Last but not least, business models of developing countries are still based upon traditional industrial age. As a result, a sea of change deems necessary to improve the overall business environment, but failure to do so will force ill-fated solid mineral companies to disaster. However, supportive international network will set an excellent stage for solid mineral industry to flourish.

President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration should diversify the nation’s economy and wealth creation through improved and organized solid mineral productions; efforts to abolish all illegal mining activities in the country should be encouraged, as government reclaims some critical and dangerous abandoned mines scattered all over the country. The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development should access the level of damage by some mining sites, for the fact that the nation is one of the highly potential mining areas in the world, adding that illegal mining does a lot of environmental damage in the eco-system.

International networks can play an effective role in developing sustainable solid mineral industry. Thus, Nigeria needs to cultivate an international network in no time. The remarkable success of India and China in international business can largely be attributed to their international networks. For instance, foreign Chinese businessmen first invested in mainland China and encouraged foreigners to follow them. And the rest is history. In the same spirit, expatriate Nigerians should take a leading role in developing Nigeria’s nascent solid mineral industry. It is important to mention here that approximately 10,000 Nigerian graduates are living in U.K. Their valuable contribution can make Nigeria’s solid mineral industry more attractive in international market. Nevertheless, the challenge remains how efficiently and effectively the nation would utilize that foreign think tank. Hence, it is crucial for concerned authorities to identify these issues so that there will be no excuses.

Nigeria is looking for an industry that will be more promising than garments industry is. That’s why, the sooner Nigeria pinpoint the obstacles, the earlier the nation will make progress towards Manufacturing based economy. Therefore, it is high time government sowed the seeds of Nigeria’s solid mineral industry so that it can reap significant benefits for the nation. Failure to do so implies that another hope would be nipped in the bud!

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