The Federal Government, yesterday, revealed that it will soon commence comprehensive investigation of revenues from the mining sector, with a view to ascertaining gaps and underpayments in the last six years.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who made the disclosure at the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development in Abuja, said government will enforce mining laws and regulations of the country, in line with international standard.
“We are starting in the ministry, a revenue management drive that will enable us to do backlog audit for the last six years of the gaps and under-payments that clearly had been the bane of this sector, over the last few years,” he said.
Fayemi equally added that mining sector governance is of priority to the present administration, hence, setting up of the Mining Implementation Strategy Team, to drive the rebuilding of the sector and unlocking its full potentials, as contained in the sectoral roadmap.
He also revealed that a review of the latest figures, as the country is out of recession, by the Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday, showed that agriculture and mining were drivers of the progress made.
Fayemi also said the federal government has achieved 300 per cent increase in revenue royalty between 2015 and 2017, adding that as at July this year; the sector had already surpassed the entire revenue of N3bn generated last year and still counting.
The minister praised the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigeria Police Force for their support in fighting illegal mining and providing mines security.
“For the first time in 30 years, the Mines Police have been established. Those who have been involved in mining in the past would remember that we used to have the mines police headquarters in Jos.” Also, in a bid to stem illegal trading of minerals, Fayemi said his ministry has registered over 30 minerals-buying centres and enacted the Revenue and Reporting Compliance Agreement with the Nigeria Customs service, which expectedly had improved the policing of mining exports.
Even though mining is in the exclusive preserve of the federal government, the minister said it cannot work effectively without the full cooperation of the states and host communities. This, he said, was already being achieved through stakeholders’ engagements.
Fayemi also disclosed that operationalisation of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Development Fund; whose board was sworn, in two months ago, to provide financing for projects in the sector, as some of the milestones so far recorded.
He added that the ministry, in collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BOI) recently launched a N5 billion fund for small and medium scale enterprises, as well as artisanal miners at single digit interest rate.
In his remarks, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mallam Mohammad Bello commended ongoing effort at maximising the mining sector and described it as “a revolution,” but warned against compromising the health of the people and the environment.