The Federal Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is committed to lifting about 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years through the diversification of the economy from crude oil to solid minerals exploration and exportation.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, made this known when he inaugurated the Ministerial Committee on the Optimization of Revenue from the Mineral Resources Sector.
According to him, there are over 44 mineral resources in the country, saying, if all the revenue generated from them are properly harnessed, it would increase the revenue base of the country.
Adegbite tasked the Committee to ensure that revenue generated from artisanal miners’ activities are recorded and work out ways to block leakages from illegal mining accruals.
He added that blockage of mineral revenue leakages and proper recording would boost the economy and encourage more people to go into mining which would lift the masses out of poverty.
The Committee has the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, as Chairman. Other members are: The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu ; Engr. O.S. Nkom-DG, MCO; Representative of Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers; Representative of Nigerian Society of Engineers; Representative of Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; Engr. J.O Adeyemo-Mining Consultant; Representative of Miners Association of Nigeria; Representative of Civil Explosives Dealers Association of Nigeria; Alh. Sani Shehu – Head Mining Group, ACCI; Director, Finance and Accounts MMSD; Director, ASM; Director, IPMT and Director, MI, he said.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee are as follows: Harmonize and review of all earlier reports of similar Committees on revenue optimization; Fashion out ways and develop strategies towards improving revenue generation from mineral exploitation; Review the present royalties, fees and rates with the view to keeping them competitive with other similar jurisdictions in the sector globally; Develop strategies to tackle revenue leakages; Come up with effective technology for the monitoring of revenue Sources using remote surveillance system etc; and Come up with other possible sources of revenue drivable.
In his acceptance speech, the Minister of State Mines and Steel Development and Chairman of the Committee Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah thanked the Minister for constituting the Committee promptly and promised to work assiduously to achieve its mandate of generating revenue and increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. He said they would be committed to looking at the cause of the current low revenue generation in the sector and find ways of blocking such leakages.
He added that the sharp practice of miners who make a false declaration of their mineral production with the intention of evading revenue payments will no longer be tolerated.
He further stated that the solid mineral sector has great potential yet is contributing less than 4billion naira in annual revenue to the government. This dismal performance is unacceptable, saying, his team will come up with workable strategies that will enable the ministry to reserve the ugly trend within the shortest possible time.
He added that they will unearth the remote causes for the poor revenue performance of the sector and come up with innovative initiatives that will define the path not only for revenue generation optimization but also fir sustainable growth of the mining sector.