HomeNewsForeigners Exploit Nigeria's Mineral Wealth, Governor Says

Foreigners Exploit Nigeria’s Mineral Wealth, Governor Says

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Nigeria is losing billions of dollars every year to foreign companies that exploit its vast mineral resources, according to the governor of Nasarawa state.

Abdullahi Sule said on Monday that foreigners operating in the nation’s solid mineral sector are milking Nigeria dry at the expense of its citizens.

He made the remarks at a public policy dialogue on Nigeria’s minerals and mining legislation, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.

Also, he called for institutional reforms to turn around the fortunes of the sector for the benefit of Nigerians.

“If we are serious about the future of the economic situation of Nigeria, we must reform what we call the solid mineral sector and if we must reform, we must come up with policies and reform them to benefit Nigerians. If we don’t do that, we will just be joking,” he said.

Nigeria’s untapped potential

Nigeria is endowed with over 40 different types of minerals, ranging from precious metals to industrial minerals and energy minerals.

According to the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the sector contributes about 0.3 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but has the potential to increase to 10 percent by 2025.

However, the sector faces many challenges, such as insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, lack of skilled manpower, illegal mining, environmental degradation, and poor regulation.

The government has launched several initiatives to address these issues, such as the Mining Industry Development Roadmap, the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative, and the Solid Minerals Development Fund.

But experts say more needs to be done to attract investment, create jobs, and generate revenue from the sector.

A fair deal for host communities

One of the key issues raised at the policy dialogue was the need to ensure that host communities benefit from the exploitation of their mineral resources.

The Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals, Jonathan Gaza, said the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill being considered proposes five percent of the total revenue of all minerals mined to the host communities.

He said the bill, when passed, will allow for the establishment of a Mines Inspection and Environmental Agency to provide improved deeper oversight of mining activities and bridge the gap between the Federal and State Governments to empower the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee for effective and joint oversight.

“The establishment bill for a Solid Minerals Development Company allocates 75 percent ownership to the private sector and 25 percent to the federation of Nigeria. Community Development and the Environment are really prioritised in the bill.

“In the bill, we have set aside five percent of the revenue of all minerals mined to the host communities, and this is due to informality of the sector. We believe that it can be reviewed and improved through this programme,” he said.

The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, said the bill, if passed, will mark a turning point for the nation’s mineral wealth, stressing that the nation’s vast mineral resources have remained largely untapped and undeservedly ignored by reliance on oil.

The policy dialogue was attended by stakeholders from the government, private sector, civil society, and academia, who shared their views and recommendations on how to improve the legal and regulatory framework for the solid mineral sector.

Source: Vanguard 

 

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