House of Representatives at Thursday plenary urged the Federal Government to urgently resuscitate the coal industry in Nigeria.
The House said the resuscitation would not only help in the diversification of the economy but also generate more income for the country.
The resolution was a sequel to a motion titled “Need to Resuscitate the Abandoned Coal Mining Sites in Nigeria”, moved by Hon. Nnolim Nnaji from Enugu State.
Leading to debate, Nnaji stated that “the Federal Government in a bid to revitalise the coal industry in the country and attract Foreign Direct Investments(FDI), had signed a multi-billion dollar Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese firm HTG-Pacific Energy Consortium to general power from Enugu.”
The lawmaker noted that the company was expected to “construct coal-fired generating plants, capable of generating about 1000 -1200 Megawatts of electricity that will be connected to the country’s electricity distribution grid.”
He recalled that former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi had reiterated the government’s resolve to revive mining activities in the Enugu coal mines to harness the abundant coal deposits in the area.
Nnaji added that Kayode had equally stated that the “Federal Government will partner with the African Development Bank to revamp and fund coal production.”
He, however, expressed concern that “despite the renewed attention brought to the Nigerian coal industry in recent times, there have not been any major headway in the industry. “
Nnaji added that the sector had the potential of the coal industry of boosting Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
“Nigeria still holds large coal reserves estimated to be at least 2 billion metric tons. The discovery of bituminous coal suitable for use in coke production -iron and steel industries, opened up potential new domestic markets.
“Besides the potential for power generation, there is also the potential for coal exports to countries such as China, Isreal, Japan, Ghana, United States, Europe and India,” he said.
Adopting the motion, the House urged the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Ministry of Steel Development to investigate the issuance of licenses in coal mining blocks to investors to find out why they were yet to commence mining of the blocs, allocated to them.
It advised the review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the allottee should there be further delays, saying that the coal mining blocs be re-issued to more competent investors.
The House also mandated its Committee on Mines and Steel to embark on a fact-finding visit to Enugu coal mining sites and other coal mining sites across the country to ascertain the state of affairs and report back to the House for further legislative actions.