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How we are transforming Nigeria’s solid minerals sector – Fayemi

25 November 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, has stated that state governments will now receive 13 per cent of mining revenues derived from their states, in line with the provisions of Section 162 of the Constitution 1999 (as amended).

The Minister, who was speaking at the opening of the 5th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries Conference 2016 in Abuja, said the arrangement was part of efforts to transform the solid minerals sector and make it contribute more to the economy.

The theme of the conference was: “Revisiting the Nigerian Economy Beyond Oil: Prospects for a thriving Export-Driven Extractive Sector.”

“The target of the ministry is to achieve 5 per cent contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, against the current 0.34 per cent,” he said.

“This is a significant shift that signposts our commitment to facilitating a win-win situation for all stakeholders and reduce subsidiarity tensions between federal and state governments.

“To give the states and communities good reason to work with the federal government, we need to create avenues for a greater degree of financial participation and revenue sharing,” the minister said.

Lamenting the country’s missed opportunities, the minister said rather than leverage on the vast resources to industrialize, oil stunted Nigeria’s development potentials, causing division among the people, in their struggles to access oil rents.

“We did not take advantage of our oil wealth over the past decades to become an economic superpower. We rather indulged in unbridled profligacy, and further lost traction in our development journey.

“We reversed the modest gains achieved in the growth of other important sectors, such as mining and agriculture sectors, as well as supporting institutions that sustain economic growth, such as our tax-based revenue generating capacities,” the minister noted.

He said the country’s mining sector had, since 1999 recorded a number of positive developments.

Apart from the August 31 approval of the Mining Sector Roadmap by the Federal Executive Council, to pave the way for the sustainable turnaround and growth of the mining and metals sector over the short, medium and long term, the minister identified various reform initiatives to lay a solid foundation.

They include the enactment of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007; formulation of the National Minerals and Metals Policy, 2008; formulation of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2011, and establishment of the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO).

Other initiatives include establishment of the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences (NIMG) as well as control departments for Mines Inspectorate (MI), Mines Environmental Compliance (MEC) and Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM).

The legal framework and the supporting regulatory institutions, he explained, would provide the sector with a competitive legal and regulatory environment for effectiveness.

For instance, the minister said the Mining Cadastre Office, as the sole issuer of mineral titles, can now issue six types of licenses and permits, covering all activities, from identification to exploration, to mineral production within 30-45 days.

Some of the major achievements of government in the sector include improved funding of the mining sector through activation of the 0.5 per cent mining sector component of the Natural Resources Development Fund (NRDF) and approval of N30 billion intervention fund.

The minister said the NRDF funds would be utilized for geosciences data generation, improved mines-field security, monitoring and enforcement of the provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007 and its Regulations of 2011.

On the other hand, he said funds from the international development partners, like the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), and United Nations agencies, would go for implementing Nigeria Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification projects.

Other key achievements, Mr. Fayemi said, include revocation of non-performing mineral titles in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and its regulations of 2011 to make such areas available for acquisition by financially and technically viable investors and completion of the revision of the Explosives Act.

“The combination of all of the efforts above has seen an almost 300% leap in revenues accruing from the sector jumping from N700million to about N2billion per month within a year alone,” the minister said.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio, said the economic recession the country was currently facing as a result of the crisis in the oil sector was “totally avoidable.”

Mr. Adio said the country came to the present terrible path, because its leaders failed to do what they were supposed to do.

“Between 1999 and 2014 when prices of oil started falling, Nigeria made in excess of N70 trillion in 16 years. The question to ask is where did the money go? How come we did not use the money to set our economy on a sound footing that would ensure the country earned foreign exchange from different sources?

“The money was not put in infrastructure to empower he people and open new streams of income. Nothing was put aside for the rainy day. As a country we need to resolve that this is not good place to be. We need to do everything to get out here. We need to diversify massively to solid minerals sector.”[sgmb id=”1″]

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