The country generated N113bn from the solid minerals sector in five years, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has said.
According to NEITI, the amount is poor when compared to the sector’s enormous potential and capability to be one of the major revenue earners for the nation.
The Acting Executive Secretary, NEITI, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, said the amount was generated between 2007 and 2012.
Orji, in a statement on Monday, said this when he led a team from NEITI to visit the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in Abuja.
“Solid minerals contributed only N8bn in 2007, N9.5bn in 2008 and N19bn in 2009. A further breakdown also shows that the sector contributed N17.4bn to the government receipt in 2010, N26.9bn in 2011 and N31.5bn in 2012, all amounting to about N113bn,” Orji said.
He expressed concern that solid minerals’ contribution to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product was only 0.6 per cent in 2012 as against the 14 per cent contributed by the oil and gas industry.
Orji said there was an urgent need to shift attention from the country’s dependence on oil to the solid minerals sector.
On reforms needed by the ministry, the NEITI boss said, “The sector reforms should include periodic review of royalty rates to conform to market prices. This will encourage companies to declare accurately what they earn for accurate tax computation as well as a progressive policy approach that guarantees legitimacy to artisanal miners that dominate the sector.
“Artisanal miners, whose activities attract zero revenue to the government at the moment, are the major sources of revenue loss in the sector.”
Fayemi, according to the statement, said the findings and recommendations of NEITI would be integrated into the policy reform agenda being developed for the solid minerals sector.
He described NEITI’s visit as timely and disclosed that some of the agency’s recommendations were already part of the action plan of the ministry.
The minister gave an assurance that NEITI’s findings and recommendations would be integrated in the reforms of the sector to be unveiled soon.