The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, yesterday, inaugurated 100 consultants for the implementation of a new model of revenue generation and collection in the mining sector.
The minister, Dr Fayemi Kayode said the project would entail the engagement of professional revenue consultants who would work with the ministry’s mining officers to identify revenue leakages in the system.
Dr Fayemi said the primary functions of the consultants in collaboration with the mining officers would be data gathering, which will assist the ministry in identifying revenue leakages and providing long-term revenue solutions to sustain and improve the revenue yield.
“To this end, we have carefully selected about 100 consultants who met very stringent conditions, and are being put through extensive training before deployment in the coming days,” he said.
Speaking at the training and induction of consultants on the Revenue Optimization and Verification (ROV) project in Abuja, the minister who was represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu said the induction followed the approval of the National Economic Council (NEC).
In his words, “We are today inaugurating a new model of revenue generation and collection in the mining sector. This entails the engagement of professional revenue consultants who would work with our ministry’s mining officers to identify revenue leakages in the system.”
He said the R.O.V Project is an initiative of the ministry, pursuant of one “of our core mandates, which is to significantly increase the contribution of the mining sector to our sovereign revenue. As a frontier sector central to this administration’s strategic economic goals, we remain committed to driving sustainable growth in the sector, towards the diversification of our economy and the creation of jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians.”
“Indeed, leakages in government revenue remains a big challenge in the sector, which we are working collaboratively with other government entities and sector stakeholders to fix. We have given considerable thought to this challenge and come up with a number of strategies to tackle it, one of which we are witnessing its launch today,” he said.
The minister noted that the deployment of consultants became imperative considering the funding and manpower challenges of the ministry. He said the consultants would add value to the ministry’s efforts and contribute the much-needed technical expertise, while also working on a no-win no-fee basis thus costing the ministry nothing upfront.
Dr Fayemi maintained that the Revenue Optimization and Verification Project essentially seeks to confirm the adequacy of royalties’ remittances made by the various operators in the mining industry. “They are mandated to collect and analyse data from 2012 – 2017 in the course of their work, thus giving us the opportunity to demand and receive accruals due to government from the referenced period. It would also ensure compliance of all operators to paying the correct amount in royalties to the government coffers going forward,” he said.
He assured that the ROV exercise will be carried out in line with the provisions of Section 17 of the Nigeria Mineral and Mining Act of 2007 which empowers the Mining Inspectorate Division of the Ministry to supervise and enforce compliance of laws and also section 43 of the Nigeria Mineral and Mining Act of 2007 which mandates mining operators to keep and supply records upon request by the ministry.
The minister said, “My expectation of this project is that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development would emerge as a lead revenue agency for the Federal Government of Nigeria, in line with the growth projections of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which recognizes the mining sector as one of Nigeria’s most promising growth sectors.”
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