Oil will only account for 21.2 percent of Nigeria’s revenue in 2016, according to a breakdown of the country’s budget presented today by President Muhammadu Buhari before the Nigerian parliament. The black gold currently accounts for two thirds of government revenue but with prices hovering around record lows, the economy has suffered a dip. Growth slowed to 2.84 percent in the third quarter of 2015 from 6.23 percent a year earlier. Now, the country is looking at other revenue sources as it works towards reviving the economy in 2016, and has identified mining as one of its focus for the coming year.
The mining ministry, on Monday, said a review review of all mining licences will be done as a first step in overhauling the sector whose huge potential is not being fully exploited.
“We will work with stakeholders to review existing licenses and bring them up to date where there are issues,” said mining minister Kayode Fayemi, in a statement.
He told operators in the industry to see the period from Monday to 1st March 2016 as an amnesty period to allow them regularise their papers.
Increased focus has been on Nigeria’s mining sector in recent times. Last month, the Nigerian Import Export Bank (NEXIM) and the World Bank announced a partnership on ideas exchange as regards providing structured intervention towards revamping the sector. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, mining accounts for only 0.34 percent of GDP, and 3.8 percent of the non-oil export revenue. But it has huge potential, including the creation of up to 3 million jobs. With about 34 products said to have been identified in commercial quantities in different parts of Nigeria, an overhaul of the sector is certain to reposition it as a major contributor to the Nigerian economy once commodities recover.