Abuja - The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has advised the Federal Government to give special attention to the mining sector rather than rely solely on the export of crude oil as the major foreign exchange earner.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, gave the advice on Sunday in Abuja in an interview.
He said: "Nigeria is endowed with various mineral resources such as gold, tin, coal, and precious stone among others.
"We have large deposit of mineral resources which are not tapped because we have found free money from the sale of crude oil.
"We (labour) are of the view that the mining sector has not been exploited for quite some time; we need to tap into our solid mineral resources to create employment for Nigerians.
"We need to have clear cut vision on how to tap these resources for the benefit of Nigerians."
Wabba urged the government to exploit these mineral resources in order not to give room for individuals to illegally mine them.
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He said that as Nigerians look forward to the celebration of the country’s 55th Independence anniversary, it was imperative for the government to revive the country’s rail system.
He expressed concern that policies formulated in the past two decades to revive the railways had not achieved the desired results.
"It is our position that it is possible for us to revive our railway system.
"Globally and in some African countries, the rail system has been providing efficient transportation services for the people," he said.
Wabba noted that the revival of the railways would facilitate transportation of petroleum products as well as other goods and services at affordable rate and in large volume since it is efficient and fast.
He urged the government to provide the necessary infrastructure for the development of the railways like standard gauge and partner with the private sector to buy locomotives.
"This has been the practice elsewhere, especially in Europe; government provides the infrastructure and bring in other partners to provide the locomotives," he said.
Wabba urged the incumbent administration to response to critical challenges in the economy and address the unemployment challenge by working with congress to create the much needed jobs.