Gold smuggling and Illegal mining have been eating deep into the nation’s economic system to the extent the Federal Government has resolved to investigate the loss of nine billion dollars annually to this destructive act.
Dr Uche Ogah, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, said this while also stating that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had not supported the mines and solid mineral sector’s development.
The Minister decried the entire discouraging outcomes from efforts invested in ensuring the sector achieves its targets by his ministry and other prominent stakeholders.
Ogah said this at a 2-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy.
He argued over the unfortunate development that a financial institution such as CBN has not invested in the solid mineral sector to harness undiscovered prospects.
“If they believe in us, if they support us the way they are supporting agriculture, we will do wonders for this country. This is one ministry that is untapped, that is unknown, that can change the landscape of our revenue.” He said.
Gold Smuggling: Minister Calls For Speedy Export Policy
On other notes, Dr Ogah advised that stakeholders ask the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to hasten the export policy on solid minerals as this concept is the only means to attract both local and foreign investors.
Ogah urged citizens to be involved in checking the activities of intruders in the mining sub-sector, adding that the public hearing aims to get stakeholders’ inputs to the contents of four Bills on how to achieve rapid development of the solid minerals sector.
The Bills are Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation Establishment Bill 2021, Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission Establishment Bill 2021, Institute of Bitumen Management Establishment Bill 2021, and the Explosive Act 1964 Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2021.