Federal government said there is need to urgently improve procedures, documentation and regulations in the Nigerian solid mineral sector.
Minister of finance, budget and national planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed who made the statement yesterday also called for deliberate government policy measures aimed at developing the nation’s mining potentials and minimising dependency on oil.
The minister made the remarks at a stakeholders’ consultative forum on the review of the draft mineral exports’ guidelines held in Abuja yesterday.
Mrs Ahmed said the policy has become more urgent in view of the present global economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as volatility of global oil prices, which is the country’s main foreign exchange earner.
According to her, streamlining the operations of the sector would help guarantee proper regulation of the sector and promote the deployment of appropriate technology and expertise to determine the quantity and value of minerals mined and exported.
“It would facilitate the collection of all the royalties/fees due to government from the export, ensure the integrity of data and determine the possible mineral derivation to their states of origin,” she said.
Ahmed said the collection of guidelines has been designed to minimise revenue leakages and remove undue bottlenecks experienced in the process of transactions by both exporters of minerals and government regulatory agencies. “It is envisaged that developing a more regulated mineral sector would obviously create conducive environment that would significantly enhance mining business in Nigeria,” she noted.
The finance minister said the formulation of distinct mineral export guidelines by the federal government is basically to address the need to keep accurate mineral trade data, ensure effective monitoring of repatriation of export proceeds, optimise the collection of royalties and facilitate the implementation of government’s pre-shipment inspection policy on exports transactions to meet up with international best practice in line with the Marrakesh Protocol to the GATT 1994.
Also, minister of mines and steel development, Olamilekan Adegbite, expressed conviction that implementation of the guidelines would go a long way to bringing sanity to the solid mineral extractive industry, and further inform direct investors’ decision.
The guidelines are in five segments with 11 steps, which include: Documentation and source; pre-shipment inspection; exit point document; shipment; and sanctions.
The proposed document, according to Adegbite, would reduce the usual time for an export cycle from an uncertain current timeframe to 26 working days. Of these, the processing of exit point documentation and shipment will take five and three working days respectively, as desired by PEBEC.
He called on the stakeholders to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the guidelines and take advantage of the environment created by it to foster their businesses.
Permanent secretary, special duties, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr Aliyu S. Shinkafi, said: “It is pertinent to state that the development and implementation of effective guidelines to guide procedures and documentation of export trade in the mineral sector will further enhance the environment for mining business.”
He also said that the guidelines would address illegal mining operations, reduce environmental devastation, minimise revenue leakages and promote foreign direct investments.