Solid Minerals: Minister Expressed Need for Improved Procedures, Regulations

In view of the present global economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.

While delivering a keynote address at stakeholders’ consultative forum on the draft mineral export guidelines, procedure and documentation requirement, the minister noted that the global prices of oil which is the country’s main foreign exchange earner, has become very volatile.

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

She is of the opinion that streamlining the operations of the solid minerals sector would help guarantee proper regulation of the sector and promote the development of appropriate technology/expertise to determine the quantity and value of minerals mined and exported.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite revealed in his address 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 means that a total of 2,614 unlicensed mineral exports took place during the period under review.

Adegbite, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in his ministry, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade disclosed that between 2013 and 2017, over N17.12 billion could be estimated as unpaid royalties.

According to him, this experience, prompted the putting together of the proposed guidelines.

The minister stated 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.