Government earned N69.2b from solid minerals in 2015, says NEITI
The solid minerals sector generated N69.2 billion into the Federation Account in 2015, latest independent audit report of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said.
The report, which was made available in Abuja yesterday, claimed that the figure represents 24 per cent on the N55.8 billion earned from the sector in 2014.
The audit report also disclosed that the total production of solid minerals in the country stood at 39.27 million tonnes. This represents a reduction of 17 per cent from the 47.1 million tonnes produced in 2014.
The drop in 2015’s production was attributed to insecurity in parts of the country and more stringent approval process for explosives used in mining.
However, while mineral production reduced, government revenues went up in the same year.
NEITI’s previous solid minerals audit reports had recommended upward review of Nigeria’s royalty rates to align with prevailing industry and present day realities.
The report also disclosed that the value of solid minerals exports in 2015 stood at $9.733 million, which was 1.45 per cent of non-oil exports for the year. Lead and zinc topped the chart with 79 per cent valued at $7.7 million, while 175 ounces of gold valued at only $122,000 were exported during the period.
The report showed that the solid minerals sector contributed 0.12 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, a marginal increase of 0.01 per cent on the 0.11 per cent contribution of the sector to GDP in 2014.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, who commented on the report, said: “This report shows evidence that the contribution of the solid minerals sector to government revenues and macro-economic indicators is beginning to improve, even if marginally.
“The sector could definitely contribute more to revenues, job and wealth creation, exports, imports substitution, industrial development and overall national growth.”
Adio, who further disclosed that the NEITI 2015 oil and gas report would be released next month, reaffirmed the commitment of the board to ensuring that its reports are more timely.
The just released 2015 solid minerals audit report recognised the progress being made by the government towards repositioning the sector to be a major driver of the economic and revenue diversification agenda of the present administration.
To sustain this growth and further enhance the capacity of the sector to contribute to the economy, the report called for “the speedy release of the N30 billion solid minerals development fund recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to the intended beneficiaries to support some of the activities already stipulated in the roadmap for the sector.”
The report also called for the improvement of the economic value of Nigeria’s minerals across the value chain before export to maximise their potentials and contributions to the growth of the Nigerian economy, while a ban should be placed on the importation of some minerals like gypsum, barite and kaolin, which Nigeria has in good quality and quantity.
As part of measures to curb the activities of illegal miners resulting in loss of revenues to government and ensure the security of field officers, the NEITI report recommended the “re-introduction of mines police to protect the officers, reduce the activities of illegal miners and subsequently increase production and investments in the sector. Government should also build the capacity and equip the states’ mines officers and surveillance teams so they can effectively verify production figures and accurately calculate royalty payments.”
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