Mining sector can get Nigeria out of recession, says Fayemi
With proper attention and planning, the mining industry is capable of taking the country out of recession.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who spoke in Abeokuta at the weekend, regretted that despite the country’s abundant mineral resources, Nigeria cannot be said to be a mining nation.
“We are a mineral nation, but we are not a mining nation. In the 70s, mining contributed to 50 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) so what went wrong? “ The government was determined to reverse the situation, Fayemi affirmed.
At the town hall meeting were representatives of small-scale miners, Lafarge Nigeria Plc. and Dangote Group of Companies both of which own cement factories in the state.
The minister said, with the dwindling revenue from oil, exploitation of the country’s abundant mineral resources remained a major source of the country’s income.
Fayemi explained that mining is on the exclusive list, hence he frowned at what he described as the “tension” between many states and the Federal government over taxation on the mining industries.
He identified multiple taxation by the Federal and state governments, lack of geological data, proliferation of illegal miners among others as challenges facing the sector.
To this end, Fayemi revealed that auditors from states, where mining is taking place, would meet with officials of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission on the adoption of modalities on the percentage of derivation to be paid to such states.
The minister also sought for tariff and tax incentives for operators in the steel sector to encourage private participation in the sector and subsequently contribute to the industrialization agenda of the present government at the centre.
He maintained that the sector would not witness any major development unless the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited is revived.
The State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, advocated for a synergy between the Federal and state governments to improve productivity in the mining sector.
Apart from the environmental hazards, Amosun said businessmen and women in the mining sector have little or no respect for the host communities and the state.
The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, disclosed that last year, Nigeria produced 43,495,423.12 tons of solid minerals, out of which Ogun produced 16,376,547.50 (37.65per cent), the highest.