By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
Acting chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, Shettima Umar Abba-Gana has said it is estimated that Nigeria is losing about N8trillion annually from gold alone.
The acting chairman also revealed that the solid mineral sector never contributed anything to the federation account until recently with the intervention of the commission in that regard”
Mallam Abba Gana stated this in his good will message at the two day Workshop on Promoting Transparency, Fiscal Accountability and National Development in Nigeria’s Extractive Industry Governance organised by Global Rights, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC) and the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), which held in Abuja from Tuesday, July 24-25 2017.
According to him, “The RMAFC ensured that a special account was opened at the CBN for proceeds from the Solid Mineral sector, however the money collected (12.6billion) prior to the 2016 monitoring exercise of the Commission was a far cry in terms of the real potential of the sector.”
Stating the findings of the commission, Abba Gana said “In the course of the exercise, the commission discovered that on paper, over 7,000 mining licenses were said to have been issued nationwide, however, barely 10% of this figure was found to be active, resulting in huge revenue losses to the federation.
He further noted that the process of obtaining mining licenses was found to be too cumbersome and as such informal miners found it difficult to legitimize their operations.
“The regulatory agencies in the sector are grossly ill equipped, understaffed, poorly motivated and financially constrained to effectively undertake routine and holistic monitoring of the sector,” he said.
He added that another major challenge observed in the sector was the issue of multiple taxation and conflicting roles of relevant government agencies, he added that mining companies were subjected to multiple taxation from the ministry of Mines and steel Development, Environment and agencies like the National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA), state ministries of works and respective local governments.
Mallam Shettima urged that to promote transparency in the sector, “ it is my candid opinion, based on the findings of the commission that the mines inspectorate department which is responsible for monitoring of exploration activities should be upgraded, process of licensing should be reviewed to make it easier for prospective miners to obtain, proper auditing off how licenses were awarded, while dormant and unused licenses should be revoked and reissued to other interested miners.
The acting chairman further revealed that experts analysis on the viability of the mining sector has estimated that Nigeria can generate approximately N500billion naira annually from royalty, taxes and other fees.
He said “It is estimated that the country can generate approximately N500billion annually from royalty, taxes and fees. This is an addition to other revenues expected from mining minerals(Gold, Coal, Iron ore, Lead/Zinc, barites)etc scattered across the states of the federation.”