Stakeholders in the mining sector tuesday kick-started discussion on the future of the industry, with a call on the federal government to focus more on strengthening sector governance in order to fully realise its economic diversification plan through mining.
Strengthening the sector governance, according to them, would enable government to manage the available mineral resources and compete favourably in the global mineral and mining market.
The stakeholders spoke through different presentations at the opening session of the inaugural edition of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD), which started in Abuja.
The opening session which was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Abass, was attended by state commissioners and permanent secretaries of mining ministries, officials of the Federal Ministries of Environment, Justice and Defence, scholars, operators and representatives of financial institutions and host communities.
Speakers include renowned geologist and Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Prof Shehu Ibrahim Garba; Director, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, Mr. Patrick Ojeka; Mr. Ebhota Al-Amin of the Mining Research/Policy Development of the MinDiver Office.
Others include Director, Mines Inspectorate, Mr. K.F. Wuyep; Prof Peter Akper of Equity Law Partners; and the Immediate Past President of Nigeria Mining and Geoscience Society (NMGS) /Chairman of Mining Implementation Strategy Team (MIST), Prof. Gbenga Okunlola.
The speakers laid the ground for discussion by participants at the event by identifying various obstacles bedevilling the growth of the sector. They also hailed the on going reform in the sector with its attendant growth.
Noting that the country has well structured mining laws, they are of the opinion that government needs to do more in the area of enforcement of existing laws and strengthening of institution in order to achieve excellent result.
They also urged government to tackle issues such as geoscience data, illegal and unauthorised exports of minerals, illegal issuance of mining licence by some state governments, defaulting in the payment of taxes and royalties and multiple taxation among others.
Garba, in his presentation, urged the federal government to ensure that MIRENCO was put to work
Al-Amin, in his presentation said mining has not been able to contribute meaningfully to the GDP because a good percentage of export in the sector remained unrecorded.
He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be more involved in exportation of minerals, as it is done in other mineral-rich countries.
NAF Sustains Aerial Bombardments of Terrorists Hideouts
The Nigerian Air Force (NAFfor the fourth day running, has sustained of the ongoing intensive bombardment of Boko Haram terrorists hideouts in the Sambisa general area.
The NAF conducted air interdiction on a settlement in Njimia.
A statement by its Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, said: "NAF Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms had previously confirmed that several structures used by the terrorists as meeting points were in the location. The air interdiction was conducted by the Alpha Jet and F-7Ni aircraft, which took turns to attack the location with bombs. Subsequent Battle Damage Assessment showed that the targeted oko Haram terrorists structures were destroyed as a result of the attacks.
"The attacks were designed to further break the will and capability of the BHTs to regroup against own surface forces."