The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to facilitate interaction between mining employers, examine mining policy issues and create partnerships with key stakeholders.
This, the lawmakers stated, is to come up with “modernised and conducive policies and legislative and functional” environment to facilitate real investments in gold mining.
This followed a unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Oghene Egoh (PDP-Lagos) during the plenary session presided over by Mr Idris Wase on Tuesday.
The motion was tagged “Need to Prioritise Gold Mining as one of the Major Earners of Revenue to the Nation”.
Presenting the motion, Egoh recalled that the Federal Government banned all mining activities in Zamfara on April 7.
He said the government also directed all foreigners operating in the mining fields to leave within 48 hours and threatened to revoke the license of any defiant mining operator.
The lawmaker said that Nigeria had about 21.40 tons of gold deposits.
“Therefore, there is the need for many large scale gold mining companies, gold mining policies, state of the art geological survey.
“This includes map production and maintenance of up to date geological records; health and safety inspections and maintenance records; legal records of licences and legal examination of new applications, among others.”
The Rep said, according to reports, Nigeria lost $9 billion to illegal mining every year and many lives were lost due to mining activities that ignored environmental protection policies.
He said official records showed that mining in Nigeria, however, accounted for 0.3 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products.
He emphasised that the poor records meant that “the Federal Government may not have official records of the amount of mineral deposits in Nigeria, which if ascertained, could make the mineral sector one of the largest contributors to government’s revenues through the payment of royalties, employees income taxes and corporate taxes.”
The House expressed concern that illegal miners cart away billions of dollars’ worth of gold yearly, leaving Zamfara “with poor state of education and inadequate healthcare system.”
The legislature also agreed that 30 per cent derivation from gold earnings would positively boost the economy of the state if the resources were effectively managed by the government.
The green chamber also agreed that the remaining 70 per cent could go into the federation account.