Global Rights Lament Lapses On Regulations, Revenue in Mining Sector

The Executive Director, Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu has expressed worry over lapses in regulations and unaccounted revenue experienced in the mining sector.

Abiodun while speaking in Abuja on Wednesday at a stakeholders workshop on improving fiscal transparency in Nigeria’s mining sector organized by Global Rights in partnership with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI called for transparency in the sector and charged the federal government to execute every project in the pipeline, intensify efforts on going reforms, and ensure that the sector is resuscitated.

According to her, “With more than 40 minerals in commercial quantities thrown across the country paradoxically, the solid mineral sector contributes less than one percent of our national GDP, this is worrisome.

“More than 80 percent of the sector particular in artisanal mining is unregulated and its revenue unaccounted for. We live with the environmental, security and socio-economic consequences of lax oversight and worst still our children will pay the price.

“The big question that we are taking a pause to answer is are we connecting the right dots for the fulfilment of Nigeria’s economic growth and development through solid mineral development. Is our mining road map leading us in the right direction?

Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi while delivering his keynote address on the topic, “The Roles of States in Enhancing Transparency and Fiscal Justice in the Nigeria’s Mining Sector,” said one of the challenges confronting Nigeria is the operations of illegal miners.

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He said, “According to report, the Nigerian government may have lost trillions in revenue, owing to illegal practices and corrupt activities of companies operating in the mining sector in Nigeria.

“Many schemes through which some companies or miners have defrauded the Nigerian government include non-remittance of revenues, unlicensed mining and evasion of taxes, illegal practices, and incessant smuggling of solid minerals out of the country.

“The need to strengthen the solid minerals sector for improved revenue generation, job creation, and overall value addition, cannot be overemphasized. The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic and dwindling oil prices has forced a strategic focus on other sectors considered as having high growth prospects, particularly the mineral resources, which had been neglected for decades.”

He assured that the federal government is not going to sleep on ensuring the mining sector is resuscitated and jobs, employment opportunities are created for youths.

In his remarks, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, bemoaned the amount of gold leaving the country, explaining that more efforts is needed to leverage on adding value locally.

“Gold leaves the country, after that we loose billions of naira. We don’t know the exact figure because all these are illegal activities and you cannot measure those things. Yes, people do smuggle gold out illegally. We are making a lot of efforts to stop that. Because our border is so vast. We are going beyond the Ministry itself to monitor that.

“The whole idea is to add value to the minerals. We don’t want to go the route of the oil and gas where we just export crude oil and bring in the refined products. We want to add value locally. Let people add value, we will be able to create jobs, create wealth and create revenue for government.

“What we are promoting essentially is value addition locally. It is not just for us to mine, it is for us to process locally, retain the jobs, retain the value in Nigeria and that’s what the Ministry is pursuing which is also in line with the African Mining Vision,” he said.

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