Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has appealed to the Federal Government to take effective measures to begin mining operations at the authorized locations in the state for proper harnessing of the inherent benefits of the mineral resources.
Ugwuanyi, who made the appeal when he hosted the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, who paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Enugu, stated that “the existing coal mines in Enugu State have long been abandoned”.
He lamented those he described as “ghost investors”, whose companies, mining leases/ licenses were awarded to by the Federal Government for years for the exploitation of the minerals in the state, but have shown little or no interest.
“We are compelled to describe them as ghost investors because they have hardly been seen anywhere near the supposed mining areas.
“As a consequence of the inactivity of these companies, all tiers of government in the state have been losing excessive amount of revenue through the non-payment of royalties, VAT, tenement rates, land use charges, PAYEE etc,” he said.
Ugwuanyi expressed optimism that the “Minister of State is in a position to appreciate our concerns and expectations regarding these issues” and “will use your good office to address the said issues promptly and satisfactorily for the benefit of the nation”.
Earlier in his speech, Bwari congratulated Ugwuanyi on his re-election and eulogized his leadership qualities as “a gentleman par excellence whom we worked together very well and closely in the National Assembly”, saying that he was not surprised by the overwhelming love and support the people of Enugu State have extended to him.
The minister, who informed the governor that he was in Enugu for the 53rd Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), reminded him that “Enugu story cannot be completed without the mentioning of mining”, stressing “mining is Enugu and Enugu is mining”.
While expressing delight with collaborations between states and Federal Government in the industry, the minister disclosed that “we are encouraging states to set up special purpose vehicles”, where “they can form their own company, acquire licenses, go into mining, either on their own or partnership with other agencies”.