Nigeria’s successive governments have emphasized the necessity of diversifying the economy, which had previously relied solely on oil and gas, particularly since the beginning of the present democratic system. Such discussions, however, have mostly remained theoretical. The intended outcomes have not been attained despite efforts in that direction. Some recent events have proven to demonstrate that there is a compelling and urgent need to wean the nation off of its reliance on oil and gas.
Like the majority of Nigerians, this publication is of the opinion that the availability of petrodollars, which ensures that administrations have easy money to toss around, is at the root of the perceptibly words without action scenario in terms of diversifying the economy. All of that will need to change as current circumstances forcefully emphasize the requirement for the three tiers of government, particularly those in charge of the country’s economy, to start making the enormous step toward true economic diversification.
More focus is needed in exploring untapped mineral resources.
Our well-considered opinion is that the Nigerian government needs to put more effort into discovering the plentiful but largely untapped mineral riches dispersed across all states of the federation if it is to achieve its much-discussed goal of diversifying the country’s economy away from oil. In fact, there are very few states in the federation that do not have access to some sort of mineral resource. Unfortunately, it seems that everyone in the country is concentrated on oil and gas, therefore little to nothing is mentioned about effectively using other minerals. One of these resources is lithium, which is now valued at $78,000 a ton and is expected to be used in 94% of the tech batteries produced worldwide over the course of the next ten years.
Although the states of Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Ekiti, and Cross River in Nigeria are richly endowed with commercial quantities of lithium, artisanal miners and other people who engage in the illegal harnessing of this priceless resource are the ones making a big profits from it while the country continues to lose its justifiable revenue. For example, even though Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Ekiti, and Cross River states have enormous lithium deposits, they, like the majority of states in the federation, are unable to survive three months without funding from the federal government adding the startling levels of poverty and youth unemployment in these states.
Current demand for Lithium is expected to triple by 2040.
There is no denying the need for the government to create rules to regulate the exploration, mining, manufacture, and exportation of lithium in Nigeria given the rising global acceptance of electric vehicles and the significant likelihood of an increase in demand for lithium. It is imperative for Nigeria to fully capitalize on lithium’s advantages because it is progressively becoming a strategic economic resource of major global significance with the potential to dramatically influence world wealth and economies in the future decades.
World Bank predicts that the demand for lithium will triple by 2040. If exploration and processing are properly handled, these processes can build industries, generate employment, increase government revenue through foreign exchange, and eventually expand the economy. As a result, the Nigerian government must put in place the necessary mechanism for its efficient exploration. It is obvious that as technology advances, the world is moving toward a time when lithium battery-powered electric vehicles will inevitably take over the market share that fossil fuel-powered vehicles currently have. The government needs to give lithium exploration top priority if Nigeria is to participate in this field!
Government must effectively harness the vast mineral resources.
The majority of Nigerians want an economy with stable wealth distribution and redistribution, as would be expected. To guarantee this, the government must effectively harness the vast mineral resources and ultimately ensure the deployment of funds accruable from such ventures to critical sectors like education, health, infrastructure, power and security among others. To generate the urgently required funds, Nigeria must position itself to play a significant role in the mining, production, and export of lithium.
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