The Minister of Mines and Steel Development and Chairman, National Stakeholders' Working Group (NSWG) of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has stated that N9.9billion revenue generated directly from the solid mineral sector was shared by the three tiers of government in July, 2017.
He said NEITI's intervention through recommendations in solid minerals audit report, led to the sharing of monies from the sector by the three tiers of government and other beneficiaries in line with section 162 of the 1999 constitution on derivation.
Fayemi made the disclosure at the NEITI South West Zonal Outreach and Stakeholders' engagement meeting held at the weekend in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The minster, who was represented at the occasion by a member of
NSWG of NEITI, Alhaji Lawan Gana Lantewa, also revealed that his ministry had received to the tune of N30billion from the Natural Resources development Fund for exploration, research, geosciences data generation and improved mines field security.
Fayemi also noted that the conduct of the Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit (FASD) by NEITI resulted in the setting up of the Natural Resources Development Fund to develop alternative sources of revenue, adding that before he joined NEITI, the fund was used in contravention of its intended purpose.
"NEITI truly, has been that beacon of light shining in dark places. We are about embarking on another round of this Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement audit. In the previous audit we were able to cover just nine pilot states and more states only Ondo was captured from the South West zone," Fayemi said.
He said in response to the desire of the current administration to diversify the economy, the present NEITI Board had directed greater attention to the solid minerals sector.
Declaring the meeting open, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibukunle Amosun, expressed displeasure over what he described as unfair treatment of the state by the federal government in spite of its contribution to federation's account.
According to the governor who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, NEITI's 2014 solid minerals audit report, established Ogun state as one of the top two states in Nigeria in terms of solid minerals production volumes, fiscal value and royalty payment to the Federation Account. He pointed out that the same Report stated that the state accounted for 25.3 per cent of total solid minerals production in Nigeria in 2014 with total value of N6.3billion and N315million royalty payments to the Federation Account.
"The popular saying is that, to whom much is given, much is expected. It is therefore, most unfair that despite our contributions to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as at February, 2017, the State still ranks 32nd out of 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory on the Gross Summary of Statutory Revenue Allocation and Value Added Tax (VAT) to both the State and the Local Governments, together. This is not fair to the State and her people," Amosun said.
He, however, said for Nigeria to fully harness the solid minerals potentials in the South-West zone and other parts of the country, there was urgent need to reexamine the existing laws that govern the exploitation of these mineral resources.
"The need for review of this law becomes more urgent as we, as a country, desire to shift our attention from the oil-based economy to that of Agriculture; Manufacturing and taking advantage of our Solid Minerals. If all relevant laws, guidelines and mode of operations are reviewed, it will also
boost, in no small measure Nigeria's "Ease of Doing Business" at both the national and international level," Amosun noted.
Also speaking, South West Zonal Representative on NEITI Board, Otunba Gbenga Onayiga, called on all the state governments in the zone to set up a special team that would interface with NEITI with a view to integrate the findings and recommendations of its report in various reform initiatives that were being embarked upon by government of the states .