The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah has called for strong partnership between the Federal and State government to generate more revenue from the solid minerals sector that will take the country to greater heights.
He made the appeal during his familiarization visit to the Governor of Imo State, Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha yesterday at Government House, Owerri. According to the Minister, effective collaboration between federal, state and local governments will ensure increase in revenue generated.
He said revenues due to government must be paid into the Federal Account to enable the States benefit from the current thirteen percent derivation granted by Federal Government based on their mineral deposits and also from the remaining 87 percent.
The Minister stressed the need for the Federal Mine Officers (FMO) to work together with their counterparts in states of the federation to overcome challenges bedeviling the sector such as closure of mining offices in some states by the State Mining Officers.
Identifying other challenges that can be addressed when FMOs collaborate with state mining officers, the minister identified imposition of additional taxes to the miners, non-remittance of due royalties to Federal Government coffers and illegal collection of dues from miners.
Dr Ogah therefore appealed to miners in the state to pay their royalties for increased revenue generation, which will enable the Governor realise invaluable projects for the state.
He called on Governor Ihedioha to harness other solid minerals existing in the State apart from Bentonite and Alkaline to ensure more resources that would fast track development.
The Minister assured of Federal Government’s support to enable Governor Ihedioha achieve success in his leadership through appropriate utilization of mineral deposits in the State.
In his response, the Governor highlighted some of the challenges facing the State to include issuance of Mining licenses without regulations and recourse to the State Ministry of Environment, illegal Mining operations at Otamiri and Nwaorie Rivers in Owerri, erosion and the collapse of bridges caused by illegal mining activities.
He expressed the willingness of the government of Imo State to collaboration with the Federal Government, Governor Ihedioha therefore implored the Federal Government to look into the issues raised with a view to ameliorate the problems and move the State to the next level.