FG Seeks Improved Procedures, Regulations In Solid Minerals Sector

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has expressed the urgent need to improve procedures, documentation and regulations in the solid mineral sector.

This, she noted, had become necessary in view of the present global economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as volatility of global oil prices which is the country’s main foreign exchange earner.

Ahmed stated this in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at stakeholders’ consultative forum on the draft mineral export guidelines, procedures and documentation requirements.

She explained that the effort to put in place guidelines, procedures and documentation requirements for the solid minerals sector is another of such deliberate federal government policy measure to develop its monumental mining potential and minimising dependence on oil as the nation continues her drive towards a progressively diversified economic base.

Ahmed noted that streamlining the operations of the solid minerals sector would help guarantee proper regulation of the sector and promote the deployment of appropriate technology/expertise to determine the quantity and value of minerals mined and exported.

In his address, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite revealed that only 56 of the 2,670 mineral exports made from Nigeria between January 2013 and June 2017 were legally executed through valid mineral export permits.

This translates to a total of 2,614 unlicensed mineral exports during the review period.

According to Adegbite, who was represented by the Permanent Secretaty in his ministry, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade disclosed that between 2013 and 2017, unpaid royalties amounted to over N17.12 billion which are still outstanding to the federal government.

This experience, he said, prompted the putting together of the proposed guidelines.

He lamented that the absence of a handbook for standardised solid minerals export has also occasioned a situation where prices in the local mineral market are almost at par with international price benchmarks, adding that this impedes ease of business for genuine exporters, as attaining reasonable margins become impossible.

The minister noted that local prices are high because most of the exports are carried out for money laundering purposes, where profit margins are not the necessary incentives.

He said: “We must note that while prices of other commodities may vary greatly with different traders and manufacturers, the mineral sector (liquid or solid) is controlled by international price indices that guide trading.

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