NIGERIA is drawing up plans to introduce a law that will make it illegal to export solid minerals without adding value to them as part of an ambitious plan to industrialise her economy.
Highly dependent on imports, Nigeria currently exports very little other than primary commodities like crude oil and raw farm goods. This has led to a balance of trade deficit as the value of imports is a lot more than the returns on exports because finished goods cost a lot more than primary commodities.
However, the global economy in meltdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, few countries are importing Nigeria’s crude oil which accounts for over 90% of government revenue. To survive, Nigeria thus needs to add value to its raw commodities to not only reduce its huge import bill but also to generate a bit of foreign exchange, given that oil prices are in the doldrums.
Olamilekan Adegbite, Nigeria’s minister of mines and steel development, has said that the ministry is working on law to make it illegal to export minerals without adding value to them. He added that Nigeria could not afford to repeat the mistakes it made in the oil and gas sector in the mining industry by exporting raw ore.
Mr Adegbite said that minerals mined across the country should be processed before being exported. He pointed out that his ministry was currently working a downstream policy that would make exportation of raw iron ore illegal.