The Federal Government has initiated some policy measures that would ensure that activities in the nation’s mining industry are properly monitored and by so doing, promote transparency in its operations and increase revenue accruals from the sector.
The Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, made this disclosure during a roundtable session at the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit, NES, in Abuja
The minister explained that one of the steps being undertaken by government to ensure proper capture of operational data from the industry was training and empowerment of young graduates who will be engaged in monitoring volume of minerals evacuated from mining sites and accruable revenue to government..
Adegbite pointed out that the development had become necessary due to lack of adequate mining officers in some states where mining operations are being carried out.
According to him, the young graduates would complement the work of the field mining officers by covering areas not being monitored by the latter.
Citing the example in Ogun State, where quarrying activities are being carried out without the reliable data on operators’ activities, amongst other locations requiring proper monitoring nationwide, he said that this cannot be allowed to continue unchecked in view of the revenue losses associated with lack of proper monitoring.
He said: “We also realise that the rules are in place, what is required is monitoring and enforcement. We are now proposing something, which is we could get young graduates, send them to get certain experience, we pay them minimum wage and we assign like about 20 to every mine officer and they can monitor, thereby generating more revenue for the government. That is what we are thinking, it is not crystallised yet.”
This is even as he spoke about plans by government to creating linkages among the three key agencies in the Nigerian mining industry, namely the Mining Cadastre Office, the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA and the Mining Inspectorate with a view to ensuring a more efficient capturing of activities in the sector.
Adegbite said that already, government had started the Cadastre Office and the NGSA operations’ digitalization to ensure real-time monitoring of licence holders and their activities nationwide from anywhere in the world
He expatiated: “Just from your computer, you can see the operations of the Mining Cadastre Office, MCO, you can see what areas are free if you want to invest and what areas are already taken by licences.
“By the time we conclude all these, all our operations would be opened and everyone can see them anywhere in the world. We are trying to have linkages now, and possibly form a coalition. The three of them would be in the same office. What the law says now is that if you get licence from MCO, you are supposed to go to the Mining Inspectorate to inform them.
“But we normally have some lapses, some people do not report to the Mining Inspectorate, hence it is not aware some people have gotten new licences, so it cannot monitor those people. We are trying to address that issue, but in the interim, we are building linkages, so we can see pictures if operations so as to promote monitoring”, Adegbite added.