From Uche Usim, Abuja
A 2020 audit report of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has revealed that over 2,119 companies operating in Nigeria’s solid minerals industry owe the federation over N2.76billion.
The report revealed that the sector has contributed N651.55 billion to the government’s coffers in the past 13 years. NEITI, in a statement released on Sunday, noted that the companies’ liabilities resulted from their failure to pay statutory annual service fees for respective mineral titles. The report stated that 6,010 existing solid mineral titles were valid as of 31st December 2020, while 7,605 mining titles were issued in the industry in the past five years.
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In his comments, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, stressed that the agency was determined to use its reports to unveil potential revenue recoveries that are awaiting immediate action by the relevant government agencies; especially now that the government is in a desperate search for revenues to finance widening budget deficits.
He said: “It is of interest to NEITI that every kobo counts to reduce government financial burden, and our reports will continue to provide useful information and data on who owes what in the oil, gas and mining sector. This is another impact that our reports will pursue in line with our mandate.” Dr Orji declared.
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He announced that the total revenue contributions from the sector in 2020 rose to N128.27 billion, an increase of over 54 per cent from the N74.85 billion recorded in 2019 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NEITI report also revealed that N8.89 billion was shared to the federating units as solid minerals revenue in 2020. Breakdown of the figure shows that the Federal government received N4.07billion (45.83%), states and local governments received N2.07billion and N1.59billion (23.25%; 17.92per) respectively while N1.16 billion (13%) was recorded as derivation share.
The NEITI Independent Solid Minerals Industry Report tracked and reconciled financial flows in the sector, checked quantities of minerals produced, utilized and exported in 2020. It also examined the governance and process issues in the sector, outlined key findings and made far-reaching recommendations that require urgent remedies.
For instance, it disclosed that 71.1 million metric tons of minerals were produced in 2020. A breakdown of the total production showed that granite, limestone, sand and laterite were the highest contributors to minerals royalty payments recorded within the period. NEITI further disclosed that five states of the Federation topped the table, contributing 66 per cent of solid minerals produced in the country that year. The first state is Ogun, followed by Kogi, Cross River, Edo and Bayelsa States.