By Naomi Uzor
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has urged the Federal Government to amend the Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 such that states can have the right to exploit their state-bound resources.
Disclosing this at a press conference, tagged: Unblocking Investment Opportunities in the Nigerian Solid Minerals Sector, the Chairman, Mining and Solid Minerals Group of the LCCI, Otunba Babatunde Alatise, said the amendment will create an enabling environment and encourage the state government to drive investment in the minerals found in their respective states.
He said the Act should be revised to make explicit and clear provision for accountability and transparency as lack of accountability and transparency in the industry can lead to loss of government revenue to business operators and regulatory bodies.
“The issue of what should constitute a community agreement before mine development commences seem not clearly defined in the roadmap. It is observed that the expectations of some communities and sub-national governments are not in tune with the provisions of the Mining Act.
“A truly independent regulatory mechanism is crucial for development in the mining sector. Such a regulatory mechanism should be independent of the Ministry of Solid Minerals in terms of finance, organisation and management to ensure there is less of government/political interference,” he said.
Alatise noted that with a huge reserve of about 44 minerals, the sector holds capacity to generate about five million jobs and 20 per cent of GDP over the next 10 years if the ongoing reform in the sector successfully passes through.
According to him, there is urgent need to re-evaluate the terms for accessing the Solid minerals intervention fund as the conditions stipulated at present, will exclude majority of players in the mining industry.
“For instance, would the fund be disbursed as grants or as concessionary loans to Junior Exploration Companies and how do we ensure inclusion of local players and not just foreign mining companies?” he asked.