The Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy will ensure appropriation of adequate fund to the Solid Minerals and Metals Sector in order to boost government’s drive for economic diversification. The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adelere Adeyemi Oriolowo has said.
The Vice Chairman, who gave the assurance when the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite and his team appeared before the Committee to defend Year 2021 budget proposal of the ministry, recently, expressed the need for adequate funding of the mining sector, saying that the sector has the potential to diversify the Nigerian economy through revenue generation, wealth creation and employment.
In a statement signed he signed for the Director, Press in the Ministry, the Assistant Director, Press, Mr Timothy Akpoili stated that the Ministry proposed the sum of twenty two billion and fifty eight million, two hundred and twenty two thousand, one hundred and thirty nine Naira (N22,058,222,139) only. He explained that the stated sum includes ten billion, one hundred and eighty-eight million, five hundred and sixty five thousand, seven hundred and seventy two Naira (N10, 188,565,772) only, for capital expenditure.
Senator Oriolowo requested the Minister to make available to the Committee, relevant documents or information that would enable the committee to make informed decision on the need for increased budgetary allocation for the sector.
The Committee urged the ministry to step-up action towards curbing illegal mining and smuggling of minerals out of the country, noting that revenue due to government is being lost as a result of the activities of illegal miners.
Earlier, the Minister briefed the Committee on efforts being made to facilitate development of industrial minerals. He explained that it will promote self-sufficiency while developing the entire gold value chain, a development he said will further increase the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
He expressed concern that inadequate funding is one of the major challenges of the sector, saying that to attract big investors to the sector, there is need to invest in geosciences data generation.
While saying that geosciences data is bankable, he explained that its availability would facilitate investments as it will attract credible investors who would pay better taxes or royalties to the government.