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Creating synergy in mining sector panacea for economic growth, diversification – Sule

Nasarawa approves over N30bn for rural, urban renewal projects

Nasarawa State Government has said that it would develop a new strategy for effective revenue collection in the mining sector to boost its financial capacity for development and social services to the people of the state.

Governor Abdullahi Sule, who dropped the hint at an interactive session for stakeholders in the mining sector in Lafia, encouraged government at all levels to create synergy for a sustainable economic growth and diversification.

The governor further said that natural resources were commonwealth of the people and that it was only by paying taxes that the government can provide services to the people from the proceeds as benefits.

Governor Sule pointed out that Nasarawa State was blessed with all the three geological formations that carry all varieties of mineral resources.

He warned that due to the interplay of forces in turning mineral resources into wealth, experiences abound how exploitation of natural resources have turned out to be bigger problems for societies than a blessing.

“Creating synergy in mining for governance among the three tiers of government is actually a panacea for economic growth and diversification; and we are committed to doing so,’’ he assured.

Governor Sule listed his administration’s framework for mineral development, which includes road constructions at mineral communities, setting up of the Nasarawa Mineral Company Limited, (NIMCO), as a special purpose vehicle for mineral exploration and public-private-partnership and the establishment of Mineral Testing Laboratory which is already in the pipeline.

He called on the businesses in the mining sector to pay their taxes to the State, which he said, “I requested for this meeting to enable us have a common understanding of what we are about to do, which is simply asking that you give to Caesar what is Caesar.”

Aliyu Ubandoma, the Secretary to the Government of the state, who stood in for governor Sule at the meeting, stressed that, government was going to harness all mineral potentials for the overall benefit of the people and the development of the state.

He specifically said, his government was going to take advantage of it abundant mineral deposits to establish a solid minerals laboratory to boost the expected revenue, promote research and knowledge development from the sector.

The governor said, the establishment of the laboratory was part of the government initiative to add value to the minerals and to ensure the state gets the needed revenue from the sector.

“In the shortest possible time, our solid minerals value chain development would stand out, once the laboratory is in place and operational.

“Apart from providing quality solid minerals related services for clients in the sector, institutions of higher learning in the State will also utilise it to promote research and knowledge development,” Sule added.

The Governor however pledged to beef up security in all mining sites in the State to ensure smooth operation by the miners.

He explained that, government will continue to focus its attention in the sector to increased revenue for development, and to ensure every miner operating in the state pay all the necessary taxes to enable the state fully benefit from the sector.

Read also: Chinese bags 5 years for illegal mining in Kwara

Yakubu Kwanta, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources earlier said, the meeting was aimed at getting inputs from stakeholders on modalities to develop the sector for mutual benefits of the government and operators.

The Commissioner explained that, the government wants to sanitise and block all revenue leakages in the sector by ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page.

According to Kwanta, the meeting was to proffer solutions on the way forward and to inform the stakeholders on government plans to harness the mineral deposits and secure the sector for operators.

The Commissioner therefore, assured that the ministry would immediately put machinery in place to ensure full implementation of government plans to turn around the sector for good.

Yusuf Dalhatu, Nasarawa State Chairman of Miners Association of Nigeria, commended the government for the opportunity and the initiative to develop the sector.

Dalhatu however said that a lot needed to be done if the government wants to succeed in the new plan to ensure that miners and mining companies get registered and licensed before they operate as well as pay the taxes due for the state.

He lamented that a lot of illegal mining activities are going on in virtually all the 13 Local Government Areas of the state and as such, the government is losing revenue.

He therefore, suggested that, a monitoring tax force be put in place, where they will visit mining sites and take inventory of mining companies operating in the state, as such would help check mate their activities to ensure proper and prompt payment of tax.

Some of the stakeholders in the mining sector included, Regulators, Mining Companies, Artisanal Miners, Mining Cooperative Groups, Mineral Vendors, Traditional Rulers, Critical Stakeholders of mining and host communities.