Born on February 25, 1957 in Katsina State, Architect Musa Mohammed Sada is Nigeria’s Minister of Mines & Steel Development, an appointment he got from President Goodluck Jonathan on April 6, 2010. After graduating from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in 1982 with a B.Sc and M.Sc in Architecture in 1984 from the same institution, Sada practiced his profession and went on the add an MBA from his alma mater in 1998. In 2007, he was appointed Commissioner of Works, Housing and Transportation for Katsina State.
In this interview with the Economic Confidential, Sada volunteered an insight into the roadmap for the development of Mineral and Metal Sector, recently launched by the ministry and what Nigerians should be expected from the ministry in the next two years.
EC: Can you give us a brief insight into the Solid Minerals sector?
Minerals and Metals are essential to modern industrial activities necessary for global development and improvement of quality of life. Nigeria is endowed with a variety of minerals and metals spread across the 36 states and the FCT. As you may be aware, mineral commodities are currently in high demand in the international market. Therefore, exploitation of these resources for the attainment of economic, social and environmental objectives of Nigeria requires sustainable exploration and exploitation. The sector has the capacity to stimulate primary production arising from increased local production of mineral and metals commodity products needed by the manufacturing and construction sectors, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of Nigeria’s real sector. It is also expected to contribute at least five percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2015 and create about three million jobs by 2020.
EC: What is the reason behind the launching of your Ministry’s Roadmap for the Development of the Minerals and Metals Sector?
Our desire to attain the objectives I mentioned earlier as well as to facilitate orderly development of the sector informed the decision to produce a roadmap for the development of the sector. The roadmap was developed to resolve the challenges of the sector in line with prevailing government policy using the value chain approach aimed at achieving predetermined performance targets. The roadmap, which our staff designed, was developed to operate in three phases namely: short term, medium term and long term. The short term programmes comprise activities that will strengthen sector reforms carried out thereby making Nigeria a preferred destination for mining investment capital such as generating credible geosciences data and formalisation of artisanal mining (ASM) operators. The medium term comprises activities that will further increase mineral production in the country through effective exploitation of mineral resources found in almost all the local government areas of the federation. The long term programmes comprise activities that will enthrone large scale mining operations in the country such as delineating world class mineralised blocks for concessioning to investors amongst others.
EC: What are the challenges of exploring the potentials in the solid mineral sector in Nigeria?
The challenges of the sector include lack of adequate and qualitative geosciences, very high proportion of ASM operations, inadequate infrastructural facilities, difficulties in accessing required capital to finance mining projects, lack of adequately trained skilled manpower, lack of appropriate technology and machinery needed to massively exploit mineral deposits, lack of adequate legislation (Metallurgical Bill), stiff competition from cheap steel imports and non-completion and operation of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) and NIOMCO in Okene.
EC: In clear terms, can you enumerate the new direction and policy thrust of the current administration towards reviving the sector?
Well, our policy thrust include value addition, import substitution, substantial job creation, promotion of modern mining practices, natural resources conservation, visibility of private sector and backward integration. It also includes participative policy process, investment in geo-sciences data, transparency in the granting of mining titles and permits, ensuring benefits streams for communities, conducive macroeconomic environment, manpower development and the development of infrastructural facilities
EC: By the way, what are your priorities in term of performance target?
Some of the performance targets set to be achieved by the roadmap are basically to consolidate the transformation of the Federal Government policy from "owner-operator" to "administrator-regulator" and to build on and maximise the gains of the interest-free, concessionary facility granted by the World Bank with a 35-year tenor and 10-year moratorium. In fact, from our timelines you can see our zeal to achieve the objectives. For instance in 2013, we will ensure enactment of the Metals and Metallurgical Act and Regulation. In 2014 we will create about three million direct and indirect jobs and by 2015 we would have increased the sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP from the current 0.4 percent to at least 5 percent and graduating to 10 percent by 2020. Similarly we would have revitalised the entire steel sector for the operation and production of three million tonnes of liquid steel per annum by 2015 and 12.2 million tons of liquid steel per annum by 2020.
EC: Does that mean that your target for 2020 is linked to that of 2015?
Everything is almost linked to the success of other timelines. By 2020, if everything goes as planned there should be an increase in the sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP from 5 percent to 10 percent and achieve enhanced capacity to supply 50 percent of the skilled manpower required for all segments of the minerals and metals sector. The country should also be producing geological maps on a scale of 1:100,000 covering the entire nation and revitalising the entire steel sector for the operation and production of 12.2 million tons of liquid steel per annum. We believe strongly that Nigeria will soon emerge as a leading global player in metals production and processing for various applications in both capital goods and consumer products.
EC: In conclusion what would you like to tell our readers?
I will like readers of the Economic Confidential and other Nigerians to realise that the implementation of the roadmap would contribute at least 10 percent to the nation’s GDP by 2020; create about three million direct and indirect jobs by 2015; create wealth for our citizens, produce needed raw material for the manufacturing sector and construction industry; and earn foreign exchange for the nation through export of mineral commodities and metals. We would ensure the protection of the rights of host communities and ensure that mining activities lead to greater economic empowerment of the people; and facilitating a private sector-driven development of the sector.