Senate mandates committee to investigate dwindling revenue derivable from solid minerals

SENATE has mandated its Committee on Solid Minerals Development to investigate immediate and remote causes of dwindling revenue derivable from solid minerals development in the country.

Senate resolution, followed consideration and adoption of a motion at plenary on Thursday.

The motion titled “Comprehensively Review the Input and Output Values of the Nigerian Mining Industry in Light of its Central Role to Economic Diversification, Foreign Exchange Earnings and Social Inclusion” was sponsored by Sen. Osita Ngwu (PDP- Enugu)

Ngwu in his lead debate said virtually all economic development programmes, fiscal documents identified the Nigerian mining sector as central to economic diversification and social inclusion.

He said after several decades of policy incoherence and weak institutional dis-alignment, the economic potential of the sector to the gross domestic product, GDP of the economy has remained dismal.

He said while quarrying dominates the total output of mining sector with almost 90 per cent , contribution and an increasing growth rate that is largely driven by products such as granite, gravel, marble and other construction materials in high demand within the Housing sector.

He, however, said that the requisite benefits to the government are not significantly evident by way of royalties.

He said that the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Solid Mineral Industry Report, 2020 indicates that five year trend of Solid Minerals contribution to GDP from 2016 to 2020 has been inconsistent and fluctuating.

According to him, while Nigeria gets less from the sector, about 0.45 per cent in 2020, other African countries enjoy significant contribution from the sector to their GDP.

“For example, the sector contributes over 40 per cent to the GDP of Botswana; and in Congo and South Africa, it is about 25 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

He said Bureau of Public Enterprises, (BPE) has been selling and is on the verge of concluding privatization and commercialisation of all public funded facilities relating to the Nigerian Mining and mineral sector even when the privatization programs has shown any concise beneficial impact to the mining industry.

He expressed concern that despite abundant mineral endowment in Nigeria, and resources expended by government, contribution of mineral sector to job creation, infrastructure development and GDP of the economy remains one of the lowest across African sub- saharan region.

Contributing, Sen.Victor Umeh(LP-Anambra) said people sadduled with responsibility of driving revenue for the country through mining sector were doing so for their personal exploration and exploitation,hence the sector was not contributing to maximally to the nation’s GDP.

According to Umeh, there is need to investigate the sector as not doing so would result in continuous revenue loss from the sector.

He said those who engage in business activities in the sector should contribute to the revenue base of the nation.

Sen.Ahmad Lawan (APC Yobe) said the Senate should make the solid minerals development a major legislative agenda, saying there was need for the senate to advocate for interventions from Federal Government to make the sector viable.

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said the sector had been neglected, saying that bandits, activities of illegal foreigners were visible in the sector.

He said the nation’s precious minerals were been taken away on daily basis without any commensurate revenue or taxes, loyalty accruing to the Federal Government.

“As far as solid mineral is concearned, there is no arrangement on what government gets as revenue,”he said.

He said the motion was apt, adding that Senate would not await any longer to make recommendations to government on the sector.

He urged the committee to conclude the investigations in three weeks.

Senate in its further resolutions called for a review of the activities of the policy administrators, policy executors, industry players at policy formulation, policy execution, at downstream, midstream, and upstream operations of the sector.

It also urged the committee to ascertain the extent and impact of illegal mining activities and the extent of complicity of both local and expatriate industry players

It called for review all the BPE privatization or commercialization programs of all mining and mineral resources related programs from 1999 to date.

It also called for a stop on further pravitisation of mining assets until Senate concludes investigation.

Senate also urged relevant security agencies to protect and strengthen surveillance on Solid Mineral assets and resources to avoid further theft and illegal activities.(NAN)


November 2, 2023 @ 20:03 GMT|