The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has on Monday disclosed that the federal government is been short-changed over the years by under declaration of revenue from the solid mineral sector.
The minister stated this while answering questions from lawmakers on performance appraisal of the 2016 budget organised by the House of Representatives committee on Solid Minerals.
He also declared the ministry has secured the approval of the President and the National Economic Council to improve revenue profile from the sector.
“We have found out that there is a lot of under-reporting in terms of revenue generation of the solid mineral sector, clearly there have been non-declaration and under reporting of revenue in the solid minerals sector. And that’s why we said let’s engage consultants working in partnership with state Governments to sure-up revenue accruable to the country,” he said.
The minister added that the declared revenue of N2.8bilion is not a true reflection of what goes on in the mining sector.
” I should also add that we generate more than N2.8 billion. This money mostly came from royalty and if you look at the Dangotes, CGCs, and other construction outfits, royalties from them should run into hundreds of billions and not N2billion”, he stated .
Speaking on the question of revenue remittances Fayemi noted that all revenue from the Ministry goes into the Treasury Single Account (TSA); “We get appropriation funding, but it’s not what we generate that we get as funding, so the question as to involve the committee in the process does not arise”.
He said investment in solid minerals does not yield immediate result as it is in agriculture as the sector requires critical infrastructure to function.
“Unlike Agriculture where you can get lake rice within a year, you take a longer time to see result in solid mineral. The gestation period takes longer than a year to manifest. You need consistent funding and development for over a period of time for you to start reaping the benefits and the President needs everybody’s support to get the mining sector right.
“It also involves the correction of issues in the power sector, the rail and road infrastructure as well as updating legislation that enhances operation, so it takes longer time even more than an electoral circle of four years unlike the agric sector”, he said.
Fayemi further explained that the ministry will build capacity of staff with a view to developing capacity to prevent instances of led poisoning as was the case in Kebbi.
“We are also planning the development of mineral corridor by building a rail line from Ajaokuta to connect the Abuja Kaduna line. We are into partnership with geological survey outfit in south Africa for the conduct of necessary tests of mineral samples, we have also changed all the federal Mines Officers in the state, now there are new Mines Officers and new vehicles in the state which is the 1st time they are getting vehicles in 10 years”, he added.