The Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah stated this during an interactive session with the 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 infrastructures that would attract investment as well as amending 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 payment of appropriate revenue is paid 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.
In his response, the Chairman of the Commission, Engr. Elias N. Mbam FNSE, affirmed that the Ministry is key in the diversification of the nation’s economy and assured of the Commission’s commitment to partner with it to achieve desired results.
On this note, Engr Mbam requested that the Ministry should involve the Commission through its offices across the Federation in monitoring mining activities and revenue collection in states, saying information obtained from such exercise would help to give the Commission the right data to work with.
He suggested that a Joint Technical Committee between the Ministry and the Commission be set up to harmonize all revenue collected to ensure such revenue get paid into the federation account.