It was a huge surprise to the nation when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, during Democracy Day celebrations announced that about 350,000 additional jobs had been created in the minerals and steel sector, a sector which is struggling to come out of the woods. According to him, about 350, 000 additional jobs were created, arising from the activities of newly registered operators. Jonathan also said: "We increased the number of investors in the mining sector due to the transparent manner in which titles are now issued on a first come-first served and use it or lose it basis. This announcement was taken with a pinch of salt as not many believed in the sector's potential to create such job opportunities, in spite of the minister's constant assurance that the sector has the capacity to create employment and ensure greater revenue for the nation, and so the questions on the lips of many remains, how, when, where and what statistics were used to gauge the 350,000 jobs said to have been created. These questions were brought to the fore when the House Committee on Solid Minerals led by its chairman, Hassan Isa Mohammed, paid a working visit to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Musa Mohammed Sada, to find out how the ministry came about employing 350,000 in the sector.
Sada said the 350,000 employments were from registered cooperative groups, with some involved in quarry and gemstone mining. He added that because these operatives were licenced, there was an accurate figure of those benefiting from the available job opportunities especially in the chalk making cottage industries in several communities now. He said these registered cooperatives were what informed the cottage industries' programme of one programme in each local government , adding that quite a number of states had started implementing the programme including Kogi, Osun and Rivers States among others. These cooperatives were further encouraged and sponsored by the Sustainable Management Minerals Resource Project (SMMRP)with the 10 million US dollars allocated for the development of Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASMs) Cooperatives.
The chairman, Isa Mohammed, in his response assured that the sector had the capacity to get over five times what the oil sector was getting if its resources were properly harnessed. President Jonathan,also said: "We have initiated a programme to support private steel production outfits. This has resulted in an increase in production figures for steel and other metals to over one million tonnes, this will also be another platform for job creation both in the sector and abroad.
Culled from The Nigerian leadership Newspaper
Hmmm. so what do you guys think? especially our readers with a background in solid minerals, do you find that there really could be job opportunities within this sector?