FEDERAL Government’s urgency to diversify the Nigerian economy from oil based, which had targeted agriculture and solid minerals, approved payment of 13 percent derivation to solid minerals producing states, just like the oil-producing states.
THIS position was further pressed home recently when Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong at the Government House, Little Ray field during the visit of the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, the Governor said solid minerals have contributed immensely to the general infrastructural development of Nigeria before the discovery of oil.
YEARS back, before oil became the main revenue generation for Nigeria, mining especially Tin and Columbite mined on the Plateau, had massively helped on the development of most of the cities in which Colonial masters had based their administration. Governor Lalong reiterated that Plateau had been exposed to mining explorations way back before independence, but with no corresponding compensation in that regard.
THE lands were left bare and the peoples’ living condition wretched without any financial remuneration to make up for the damage. Even the so called ecological fund that was meant to help recover most of the degraded farmlands has remained mostly known in Government policy statements.
EVEN now, the wealth that leaves Plateau state on weekly basis is in billions of naira, yet no corporate social responsibilities are carried out to the host communities, with a paltry meager royalties paid only to the federal government. While the states, burdened with the onus of providing basic social amenities to its communities, desire a break away from total dependence on oil revenue.
IT is in this wise that the federal government appropriation of the 13% derivation to solid minerals producing states is paramount. This may go a long way to benefit people from such territories.
WE also want to call on the federal government especially the National Assembly to remove mining from the residual list to the concurrent list, as a way of encouraging the states and help boost IGR of the states, who will in turn monitor and check mate mining companies who go foul of the laws, so as to ultimately get the expected revenue for the two tiers of government.
FEDERAL government should do the needful by creating special grants to states where mining activities of the past had ravished the land. The urgent need for land reclamation will make the land useful and lives more secure. Ecological funds allocated to states come occasionally, but if just like Niger-Delta Development Company (NDDC), something similar should be established in that regard and a certain percent is allocated to those states for the purpose of developing their states owing to exposed mining activities.
SYNERGY between the federal and states where solid minerals are located must be established to determine who is licensed to mine the different mineral located in their domain and work out royalty due to government for social corporate responsibilities and necessary levies to the local communities. It is also paramount to work out the template of employing indigenous persons in the company as obtained by the federal character commission. The environmental impact analysis and level of health hazards whether short or long term to persons or animals within the host communities.