The Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah stated this during an interactive session with the former Chairman, Members and Staff of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, at the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.
Dr Ogah, in his speech disclosed that the Minerals and Metals sector is very critical in achieving the diversification of the economy and poverty alleviation bid of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration but noted that the sector needed more funding to develop required infrastructure that would attract investment while also noting the need to amend certain legislation and policies.
He said the Ministry is working tirelessly to organize the artisenal miners into Cooperatives in order to reduce illegal mining and ensure that the right revenue is derived from their operations. As a result of insecurity, a Task Force made up of security agencies is in place to provide security for miners and mining sites across the nation.
Speaking further, Ogah emphasized the need for value chain addition to solid mineral resources in Nigeria with a view to deriving maximum benefit on these resources. In a step to actualizing this, a policy that ensures Pre-shipment evaluation on solid minerals has been put in place aimed at ensuring that payment of appropriate revenue is made to government coffers, noting that mining could provide 23% employment when properly funded. He appealed to the Commission to spear-head increase of the Natural Resources Development Fund from its current 1.6% share from the Federation account in order to get needed fund to further develop the sector and attract investment in minerals.
On this note, the Commission requested that the Ministry should involve its offices across the Federation in monitoring mining activities and revenue collection in states, adding that information obtained from such exercise would help to provide the right data to work with.
A Joint Technical Committee was suggested between the Ministry and the Commission to ensure that revenue get paid into the federation account.