Insists on quality and quantity checks at ports
Seeks inclusion of CBN, Customs, Immigration in formulation of Mineral Export Policies
Says FG, States should collaborate with MIREMCO to determine royalties
The recently concluded National Mining Council has set in motion recommendations which if adopted and effectively implemented, will stem the alarming tide of revenue losses from the mining sector that bedevilled the Nigerian economy for decades.
While saying that existing audit and control mechanism for monitoring mineral exports in order to curb under-declaration of mineral exports should be strengthened, the council stressed the need to address revenue leakages saying it has caused alarming economic losses to the country.
Chairman of a leading gold processing organisation, NASAMAN Group, Prince Maman Nasir Ali who commended the Buhari administration for the ‘all-inclusive approach adopted to seek solutions to the challenges of the sector’ advised the Fayemi leadership team to stay focused and pursue the sector’s development by ensuring prompt implementation of the council’s recommendations. In a related development, National Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Mines Workers, Comr Mohammed Hamza also described as ‘good,’ the ‘manner in which government is approaching mining sector challenges.’
The TRUTH recalls that the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari earlier assured that the ministry will ensure that the council’s recommendations are implemented as a way to ensure development of the sector.
The TRUTH further recalls that in July this year, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, Senator Hope Uzodinma raised alarm that Nigeria loses 14trn annually to smuggling and revenue leakages, while lamenting that the figure for goods smuggled in and out of the country through sea ports is mind burgling. According to Uzodinma, over $15 billion or N4.35 trillion worth of goods are smuggled into the country each year.
In a communique issued at the end of the Council, it called for private sector driven Single Export Window Policy adding that modalities should be put in place at every exit point and ports in the country for quantity and quality analysis. This the council said ‘will monitor and record all mineral exports and ascertain appropriate royalties and certifications, including the installation of weigh bridges, credible international inspection outfits and the likes.’ This will also promptly address the mineral revenue leakage that occurs through the exit ports.
‘Stakeholders suggested that the focus of the Federal Government should also be concentrated on revenue collection and plugging loopholes for data and revenue leakages,’ the council said.
The council said in issuance of the certificate of origin, the Federal and State Governments should collaborate through the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) in analysing and tagging of minerals at source in order to determine appropriate royalties adding that government should encourage value addition plants from ores to concentrates with appropriate and reasonable incentives.
While highlighting critical roles of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Customs and Immigration in Mineral exports, as well as other key linkage ministries and agencies, the Council called for their inclusion in all policy formulation and strategies towards attainment of seamless processing of mineral export.
The Council advised the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the Federal Ministry of Environment and State Ministries of Environment to concentrate efforts on issuance of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports adding that there is need for clear distinction to be made between the different categories of mining operations with respect to their environmental and Corporate Social Responsibilities.
According to the council, ‘government should provide an enabling environment, strengthen enforcement, and promote security in the mine fields.’
It commended government on ongoing efforts to formalise Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Groups into Cooperatives adding that such should be maintained and continuously invigorated.
Although the council was set up to operate in advisory capacity, but stakeholders in separate interviews with our correspondent called for immediate implementation of the recommendations of the council which they agreed were made after consultations with stakeholders at various levels of government, with the participation of the organised private sector and labour unions.