Uche Usim, Abuja and Adewale Sanyaolu
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in its latest report released in Abuja on Sunday, said the nation’s solid minerals sector contributed N52.75 billion to federation revenue in 2017.
The figure represents a 21 per cent increase on the N43.22 billion it contributed in 2016.
NEITI said the information and data came from an independent reconciliation of company payments and government receipts in the sector.
From a total revenue contribution of N52.75billion, payments to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), accounted for N49.162 billion which is about 93 per cent of the total revenues realised during the period under review. Payments to the Mines Inspectorate Department (MID) and Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) amounted to N1.59 billion and N2.08billion or about 3 per cent and 4 per cent respectively of the total revenue from the sector.
NEITI however noted, “Except for revenue from MID, there was significant increase in revenue from all other streams” in 2017.
Amedu Onekpe & Co, an indigenous accounting and auditing firm, conducted the 2017 solid minerals audit for NEITI. While underlining the importance of a comprehensive action plan to shift attention from oil to the development of the solid minerals sector in the face of dwindling oil revenue, the report noted the significant reforms and development in the sector. These included, increased funding to the sector from various sources from N1billion in 2015 to N7billion in 2017; approval of N30 billion ($100 million) as intervention fund to facilitate exploration projects towards the much-needed geosciences data and other regulatory framework; N5 billion support fund launched by the Bank of Industry for small-scale miners at 5 per cent interest rate; and a $150 million loan secured from the World Bank for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) which became operational in 2017.
Others are the inauguration of a project delivery team (PDT) to invigorate the coal sub-sector and concession of coal blocks of the Nigerian Coal Corporation as part of MMSD’s contribution to the energy policy in other to increase the contribution of coal power plants to 30 per cent of the nation’s electricity by 2020;
Discoveries of some mineral deposits in 14 states have led to an appreciation in Nigeria’s limestone resource base from 2.3 billion tonnes to 10.6 billion tonnes making Nigeria sufficient in cement production;
An estimated 4.8 billion tonnes of Marble was found in the FCT, Nasarawa, Ondo, Edo, Oyo, Kogi, Kwara, Niger and Kebbi states;
Engagement of M/S Fugro by MMSD to carry out aeromagnetic survey covering various mineral deposits across the country with discoveries made on the existence of base metals in Ebonyi State, gold in Osun and Kaduna states;
Acquisition of diamond core drilling rigs and assaying equipment by MMSD for the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency and the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), which would aid gathering of more credible geosciences data; The MCO has been decentralized, upgraded and six zonal offices established; the MCO has introduced online mineral title administration to ensure transparency and improved turn-around time in mineral title processing from 45 days to 15 days; the strict implementation of the “use it or lose it” provision of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 that stipulates the revocation of non-performing or defaulting mineral titles to curtail the activities of speculators.