JOINT VENTURE AGREEMENTS AS A TOOL FOR REVITALIZING NIGERIA’S SOLID MINERALS SUB SECTOR
Statement The contribution of solid minerals to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Foreign Exchange earnings of the country has been on the decline since the discovery of the Oil Minerals (Crude Oil) and its commercial exploitation in the late 1950s. The unwholesome reliance on the mineral has not only led to the progressive neglect of other sectors of the economy such as Agriculture, Mining, Manufacturing etc. but has also led to structural imbalances in the economy, with the effect becoming manifest in the 1990s. To address this problem the Government has decided to explore other viable alternatives that have hitherto been neglected in order to diversify the revenue base of the country. The solid minerals sub sector is a viable alternative in this regard and there are indications that if properly harnessed, the sector has the potential of contributing substantially to the revenue earnings of the country in the 21st century. However, given the long period of neglect it has suffered, concerted efforts must be made to revitalize it and properly position if for the role expected of it as a major source of revenue earning. One of the ways of achieving this objective is through the use of Joint Venture Agreements. A Joint Venture Agreement is essentially a relationship between two or more persons to conduct a common business for their mutual benefit with the underlying understanding that shall share in the profits and losses and each shall have a stake in its management. Solid minerals development encompassing the stages of prospecting exploration and exploitation is heavily capital intensive with long gestation periods and the pooling of financial resources from several partners, both local and international, under a Joint Venture arrangement is the most effective and less burdening way of developing the sub sector.