Formalize Operations Of Illegal Miners, Boost Revenue, Senate Urges FG

The Nigerian Senate, on Thursday, called on the Federal Government the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to formalize the operations of illegal miners so as to generate tax revenue that would have been lost.
The resolution was sequel to the consideration of a motion on “the need for continuous implementation of policy reforms for the diversification of the Nigerian economy through the Agricultural and Solid Minerals Sectors.”
As part of the motion was sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central) and co-sponsored by 59 other senators, the upper legislative chambers urged the Federal Government to partner other tiers of government, as well as the private sector to develop infrastructure and promote private sector investments in the country.
It also advocated tax holidays for investors in the solid minerals sector, while further advising the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate with relevant agencies to push for tax holidays and zero tariffs for import on agricultural and agro-processing equipment.
According to Amosun, available statistics show that the contribution of crude petroleum and natural gas to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined from 14.95% in 2011 to 9.61% in 2015, while the agricultural sector contributed 23.35% and 23.11% respectively, to the GDP during the periods.
He noted that Nigeria was endowed with a wide variety of solid minerals in almost all states of the federation, stressing that the solid mineral sector ranked second only to the agricultural sector as a source of export earnings for the country.
According to him, “in the last four years of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the government has introduced a number of broad and sectoral policies intended to harness Nigeria’s Agricultural and Solid Minerals potentials in a bid to diversify the economy.”
He listed such government’s policies to include the Anchors Borrowers Programme, the Livestock Transformational Plan, Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, and the Solid Mineral Development Strategy.
Amosun added that the laudable policy initiatives by the Federal Government to reposition the Agricultural and Solid Minerals sectors would not only diversify the Nigerian economy but also lift one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.