August 3, 2021 12:18 Am
By Emmanuel Addeh
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said that the meagre 1 per cent contribution of the mining sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was unacceptable.
Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, who stated this while playing host to members of executive of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) led by its President, Mr Kabiru Muhammed, maintained that Nigeria was lagging behind considering the existence of abundant minerals resources that are spread all over the country.
Orji described the activities of illegal minerals buying centres across the country as major revenue leakages to government, saying that it has become worrisome to the organisation.
While pledging to work with MAN and other key stakeholders in the sector by sharing information and data to ensure that all the leakages are plugged, he explained that one major area of interest of NEITI is to explore all possible avenues, including partnership and collaboration with organisations like MAN to improve government revenues from the solid minerals sector.
“We are going track either local or foreign funds meant for the development of the mining sector. We are also going to advocate for equitable and judicious application of such fund.
“From findings of NEITI’s audits reports, the mining sector currently contribute less than one per cent to the country’s GDP and this is unacceptable, considering the quantum and variety of mineral resource spread all over Nigeria.
“We are aware that the sector is dominated by artisanal and small scale miners, and we have advised government through recommendations contained in our reports to devise means to formalise operations of this category of miners to enable them contribute to the development of the sector and the economy,” he noted.
The executive secretary stressed that NEITI will look into the inflows and the management of the solid minerals development fund to ensure that it is accessible, useful and promptly available to end-users.
Earlier, Muhammed congratulated Executive Secretary on his appointment, noting that NEITI and MAN have come a long way as natural partners with common interests in the growth and development of Nigeria’s mining sector.
He requested the agency to track all funds meant for the development of the mining sector, including periodic audits and performance of such funds and involvement of MAN in the programme and activities of the agency.