From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has lamented that states and host communities are frustrating mining business in the country through imposition of illegal taxes on mining companies.
Osinbajo while speaking at the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development’s maiden edition of the strategic engagement on sustainable mining with state governors and other critical stakeholders in Abuja, stressed that it is only synergy among the the state governors, communities that can revive the country’s mining sector.
The Vice President challenged the local government authorities to work closely with the Ministry through Nigerian Geological Survey Agency for full appreciation of the mineral endowments in their area and develop cottage mines to exploit the minerals identified in each local government with the mindset of job creation.
He said: “It has been observed that some State Governments have continued to interfere and usurp the powers of the Federal Government and the statutory powers of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development by enacting parallel Mining Laws, imposing taxes and royalties on miners as well as other levies and sanctions on existing licensed Mining Companies leading to multiple taxation and hardship.
This puts legal operators in the sector in a state of dilemma over which of the laws to comply with and has led to huge revenue loss. State Governments noted for this include Anambra, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa and Ogun and others are copying very fast. Issues as underlisted have become manifest in such mining jurisdictions due to lack of synergy amongst the tiers of government.
“Illegal introduction and enforcement of outrageous fees, taxes and levies on licenced mining companies and Operators (both foreign and Local). Oppression, Suppression, continuous arrest and harassment of licensed Miners and their workers (both foreign and Local).
He suggested that the Ministry should lead the efforts for improved communication and information sharing among the tiers of government especially on the provisions of the Minerals & Mining Act, 2007 and its ancillary regulations of 2011.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, in his remarks, stated that the ministry was building two gold refineries in the country to increase the value of gold for the benefit of stakeholders.
Adegbite added that gold miners would be linked to formal markets through licensed precious metal buying centres.
He explained: “Through the ongoing Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative (PAGMI), we are organising, formalising, and equipping artisanal and small gold miners in Kaduna, Kebbi, Osun, Niger, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Gombe, and Ekiti.
“Miners of gold and other metals would be linked to formal markets through licensed precious metals buying centres. One of such initiatives was the recently launched Dukia-Heritage Bank buying centre.
“Two gold refineries, Kian Smith and Dukia Gold and Precious Metals Refining Company Limited, are currently being built to increase the value of gold in the country for the benefit of all stakeholders.”