By John Okeke
In continuing effort to create a robust interface and engagement among stakeholders in the Minerals sector, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development held a 2-day sensitization meeting with States Commissioners for Justice, Minerals and Environment from North-Central Geopolitical Zone geared towards enhancing ease of doing business in the sector.
This was contained in a statement by Timothy Akpoili , for Assistant Director of press unit of the ministry.
The Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in his opening remarks, said the meeting was to rub minds, proffer solutions or make clarification on seemingly misunderstanding of policy implementation on roles of the Federal and State governments in mining operations.
“We are here to exchange ideas, know your concerns, get to understand each other’s roles and how to work together for the benefit of all,” he said.
While urging participants to feel free to bring to the fore issues of their concern, the Minister said all issues raised would be addressed within the ambit of the nation’s Constitution and the Nigerian Mining Act.
Reacting to some comments including amendment of the Exclusive list section on minerals in the Constitution, so that the states would have participatory roles in mining, the Minister said doing so would amount to selfishness and detrimental to the economic system.
He explained that oil revenue that is derived from a section of the country is being used for the overall development of the country, and that now that attention is focusing on the development of the minerals sector for revenue generation, it must be use for the common good of all.
He said that royalties and other revenues generated from solid minerals mining is paid into the consolidated fund which is shared in accordance with derivation principle during monthly revenue allocation sharing. He urged the participants to always cross-check from their respective State Commissioner of Finance to know how much revenue from minerals their states get monthly.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, said the meeting was apt and timely as it will boost the efforts to foster the required synergy and understanding between the federal and state governments in carrying out mining activities in the country.
He said the states Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committees (MIREMCOs) play vital roles in ensuring smooth mining activities in the states, and urged state governments who appoint the chairmen, to endeavour to appoint persons with expertise and knowledge in the field so as to bring such to bear in their operations in the states.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluwatoyin Akinlade, said the sector has the potentials to revamp the nation’s economy hence the present administration has picked it as one of the focused sectors in the diversification of the economy.
She said with the abundant mineral resources when properly harnessed would boost the nation’s revenue base, stressing “To achieve this, there must be cooperation and collaboration of governments at all levels”.
“It is our hope that the outcome of the meeting would enhance effective and robust collaboration between the Federal and State governments,” she stressed.