Lawmakers To Probe Illegal Mining As Federal Govt Loses $9bn Yearly

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate illegal mining in the solid mineral sector which costs the federal government $9 billion annually with only three per cent royalties paid by a few licensed miners.

This resolution followed the adoption of a motion moved by the Deputy House Leader, Hon. Ibrahim Abdullahi Halims (APC, Kogi) at plenary on Wednesday.

Moving the motion, Halims said the vast mineral resources in Nigeria that are largely untapped and underutilised, which can play a critical role in diversifying the economy, creating jobs, and boosting revenue generation.

He called for focused intervention and radical measures to address the issues affecting the solid minerals sector and its underperformance, as indicated in the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) 2021 report.

The lawmaker said the report puts the mineral sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, at 0.63 per cent, or N1.10 trillion, and contribution to government revenue, at 2.62 per cent of the government’s N6.63 trillion total revenue.

Halims expressed concern about the current challenges bedevilling the solid mineral sector because of illegal mining activities and acknowledged its detrimental impact on the environment, national security, and economic growth.

He also expressed worry about; “the loss of revenue from unregulated and illicit mining operations, costing the government $9 billion annually with only three per cent royalties paid by a few licensed miners, hindering the country’s mineral resource utilisation.

“The negative impacts of illegal mining, which have led to insecurity and conflicts over control of mining sites and their resources and escalated into violence, thus exacerbating existing political and social tensions in the affected communities.

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