The noncompliance of some state governments with the constitutional provision that places mining under the exclusive control of the Federal Government is not in the best interest of the economic diversification quest of the country. World Bank consultant who is Managing Director, Geocardinal Engineering Services, Engr Titilope Adeyemo has said.
Adeyemo, who expressed the concern at a media roundtable in Abuja described the development as ‘a sad trend that is capable of discouraging prospective investors from investing in the sector,’ adding that the government of Osun State has already set in motion frameworks that will sustainably develop the state’s mineral wealth while creating job opportunities through the sector.
‘States should take a clue from Osun State which has already floated a state-owned solid minerals development company known as Livingspring Ltd,’ adding that the company has acquired mineral titles not only in Osun State, but also in some other states in the country.
According to the global consultant, ‘the government of Osun State has opened its doors to investors from all over the world, a development that has kick-started the development of the state’s mineral wealth.’
Adeyemo who further described the noncompliance of some states as ‘unfortunate,’ said it could signal a decline in the economic fortunes of noncompliant states as it could ‘cripple the investment aspiration of prospective investors.’
While saying that the noncompliance of Ebonyi state has made it difficult for the state government to carry out mining activity in the state, he explained that the government of the state has enacted laws that are not in consonance with federal laws on mining, adding that the situation is a result of the failure of the state government to give due regard to the constitutional provision that placed mining in exclusive legislative list.
‘This is because Ebonyi State government cannot even explore its own mineral resources since it must obtain mining licenses from the Federal Government before it can legally do so.’
The COREN-certified mining engineer therefore advised the state governments across the federation to approach government for relevant mining licenses toward developing the mineral resources of respective states, and embark on the investment drive needed to transform the mineral wealth of states.
‘Ebonyi state needs to market the mineral wealth of the state in order to develop competent partnerships with local and foreign investors who will explore the investment and jobs creation opportunities of the state.’
Adeyemo whose organisation currently supervises about sixty mining facilities in Nigeria explained that noncompliance of states causes multiple taxation, a situation that seriously discourages investors.
He called for improvements in the regulatory framework of the sector, adding that Nigeria should take a clue from renowned mining nations like Canada and Australia.
‘In those countries, the regulatory framework is continuously being improved thereby strengthening the capacity of indigenous operators and policy makers to maximize their products.’
He lamented that ‘the framework governing activities in the Nigerian mining sector is weak, a condition that discourages investors from executing their investment plans in the country.’