The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commision (RMAFC) has over the decades consistently advocated for the need to diversify the nation’s economy. Unfotunately, not much has been achieved as there is still heavy reliance on revenue from hydrocarbons. Thinkering on the possible causes of non-implementation of recommendations from these advocacies, the Commission initiated research projects aimed at providing answers to the missing link.
In a recent move therefore, the Commission, through its Committees on Research & Development and Solid Minerals, in collaboration with the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, ZIVA Community Innitiative, European Union and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) embarked on a research project on ‘‘Formalization of the Nigerian Artisanal and Small Scale Miners (ASM) as a panacea to curbing revenue loses to the Federation Account’’ – TIN ASMS AS CASE STUDY.
Prominent among the reasons for embarking on this project is the need to address the fiscal inefficiencies that hinder the sector from contributing optimally to the Federation Account.
As part of the project, the Commission organized a one-day Policy Dialogue on the 7th of December, 2023 aimed at engaging the legislative arm of government on relevant laws to be enacted in order for desired results to be achieved in the mining sector. Present at the event were Senator Ekong Sampson, (Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals Development), Senator Mustapha Khabeeb (Vice Chairman) and Senator Umar Shehu Buba. The Chairman House Committee on Solid Minerals, Rt. Hon (ESV) Jonathan Gaza Gbefwi was equally present. The Research Partners had their representatives as well as other Stakeholders in the industry.
Remarks/Goodwill Messages
In her message, the representative from UNDP commended the initiative by RMAFC and expressed satisfaction over the conduct of the project. She reiterated the commitment of the organization to support projects aimed at actualizing the sustainable development goals in Nigeria.
Professor Ibrahim Garba, the Technical Project Adviser, a man that has attained a lot in the mining industry and assisted the Republic of Guinea in its mining sector reforms pointed at the need to have a strong synergy between the technologies of mining and government policies. He stressed that the nation would benefit more if the sector is driven by the private sector and moderated by efficient and transparent government policies as was obtainable in the pre-independence era. He further pointed out areas of conflict in the 2007 Mining Act which has hindered expected growth and revenue generation and hoped that the Legislators would as a matter of urgency revisit the Act with the view to amending those areas.
In his message, Rt. Hon (ESV) Jonathan Gaza Gbefwi (Chairman House Committee on Solid Minerals harped on the unfortunate low revenue from the mining sector when compared with its known potentials. He therefore offered support for the RMAFC initiative while assuring of the commitment of the lower chamber to resolve identified areas of amendment of the 2007 Mining Act. He told the audience that the House Committee had already commenced the process of reviewing the Mining Act which is presently at the Committee level. He identified amongst others, key areas of amendment which includes:
 Strengthening Regulatory Framework;
 Intensifying Monitoring and Audit Mechanisms; and
 Capacity Building Programmes and Stakeholder Engagement.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals Development, Sen. Ekong Sampson in his remark, emphasised that the nation must take the mining sector seriously in order to move away from over dependence on oil revenue. He stressed the need for effective synergy among industry players for the potentials of the sector to be fully harnessed while affirming a strong collaboration between the Senate, House of Representatives and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development aimed at repositioning the sector.
Keynote Address
In his keynote address, the Chairman of the Commission, Mohammed Bello Shehu OFR, appreciated the research partners for their commitment towards realizing the goals of the project. He also thanked the Lawmakers for making out time to grace the event. He highlighted the laudable efforts of RMAFC in realising increased revenue from solid minerals and ensuring biannual disbursement of 13% derivation to States from the Federation Account. Speaking further, he pointed out that the mining sector in Nigeria is dominated by ASMs who account for about 80% of activities in the sector which prompted the Commission to embark on this project. He therefore emphasised that formalising the ASMs into cooperatives and consequently capturing them into the tax net would bring about better revenue accruals into the Federation Account.
The technical session witnessed intense deliberation as several contributions were made by s industry experts and stakeholders. At the end of the programme, vital articulated points and decisions were collated which will be forwarded to the Legislators.