By John Okeke
The Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy has expressed readiness to ensure appropriation of adequate fund for the Solid Minerals and Metals Sector in the drive toward diversification of the economy.
This was contained in a Statement by the Acting Director of Press of the Ministry ,Timothy Akpoili.
Speaking when the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, appeared before the Committee on Monday, November 9, 2020 for the 2021 Budget defense, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adelere Adeyemi Oriolowo, who chaired the meeting, and other members of the Committee expressed the need for adequate funding, saying that the sector has the potential to diversify the economy through revenue generation, wealth creation and employment.
Senator Oriolowo asked the Minister to make available to the Committee all relevant documents or information that would enable them to make informed decision on the need for increased budgetary allocation for the sector.
Also the Committee urged the Ministry to step-up action towards curbing illegal mining and smuggling of minerals out of the country. They noted that a lot of revenue due to government is being lost to the activities of the illegal miners
Earlier, the Minister briefed the Committee on efforts being made to facilitate industrial minerals development that promotes self-sufficiency, as well as development of the entire gold value chain aimed at increased foreign exchange earnings.
He however, pointed out that inadequate fund is one of the major challenges, saying that to attract big investors to the sector, there is need to invest heavily in Geoscience data generation, and that it is bankable data that would attract major investors that pay better taxes or royalties.
The Minister told the Committee that the Ministry’s Budget proposal for year 2021 is N22, 058,222,139, of which, N10, 188,565,772 is for Capital.