The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu. S. Ogah, has called for strong partnership between the Federal and State government to generate more revenue from the solid minerals that will take the country to greater heights.
He made the appeal during his familiarization visit to the Imo State Governor, Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha yesterday at Government House Owerri.
According to him, such concrete collaboration with State tiers of Government and the traditional rulers will ensure that the Mining revenue from the State due for the Ministry is recognized, properly articulated and paid into the Federal Account, to enable the States benefit from the current 13 per cent derivation granted by Federal Government based on their mineral deposits and also from the remaining 87 per cent.
The Minister stressed the need for the Federal Mining Officers to harmoniously work together with their State counterparts to overcome some challenges bedeviling the Mining sector such as: closure of Mining offices in the States by the State Mining Officers; imposition of additional taxes to the miners; non-remittance of due royalties to the Federal Government coffer; collection of illegal dues from miners.
Consequently, Dr Ogah appealed to the miners in the State to pay their royalties for an increased revenue generation, which will enable the Governor realize invaluable projects for the State.
He called on the Governor to properly harness other minerals likely existing in the State apart from Bentonite and Alkaline to ensure more resources that would fast track development.
The Minister assured of Federal Government’s support to enable Governor Ihedioha achieve success in his leadership through appropriate utilization of mineral deposits in the State.
In his response, the Governor highlighted some of the challenges facing the State to include: issuance of Mining license without regulations and recourse to the State Ministry of Environment; illegal Mining operations at Otamiri and Nwaorie Rivers in Owerri; erosion; and 3 collapsed bridges caused by illegal mining activities.
He, therefore, implored the Federal Government to look into the issues raised with a view to ameliorate the problems and move the State to the next level.
He expressed the State ‘s willingness to collaboration with the Federal Government and that it will remain friendly in the federation, while striving to contribute its quota to national development.