–Companies owe Federation N2.7bn
By Obas Esiedesa
Revenue from the solid minerals sector to the Federation Account rose by 54 percent in 2020 to N128 billion compared to N75 billion recorded in 2019, an audit report of the mining sector by the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has indicated.
NEITI in a statement by its Head, Communications & Advocacy, Obiageli Onuorah yesterday said over 2,000 companies operating in Nigeria’s solid minerals industry were indebted to the federation to over N2.76 billion.
NEITI in the 2020 solid minerals report stated that the companies’ liabilities resulted from failure on the part of 2,119 companies to pay statutory annual service fees for respective mineral titles.
It explained 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.
Highlights of the NEITI Report showed that the sum of N8.89 billion was shared to the federating units as solid minerals revenue in 2020. Breakdown of the figure showed that the Federal Government received N4.07 billion (45.83%), states and local governments received N2.07billion and N1.59billion (23.25%; 17.92%) respectively while N1.16 billion (13%) was recorded as derivation share.
Commenting on the report, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji stressed that with the Federal Government “in a desperate search for revenues to finance the widening budget deficits, NEITI is determined to use its reports to disclose potential revenue recoveries that are awaiting immediate action by the relevant government agencies.
“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”, he added.
Dr. Orji said the 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 percent of solid minerals produced in the country that year. The first state is Ogun, followed by Kogi, Cross River, Edo and Bayelsa States”.
On companies’ activities that shaped business investments in the solid minerals sector, the NEITI report identified Dangote Cement Plc as the first, followed by Lafarge Plc, BUA International and Dantata and Sawoe with the highest production accounting for about 64% of the total mineral production volume in 2020.
NEITI further disclosed that total minerals exports in 2020 were 32.99 million tons valued at $42.46 million while China with 80 percent of the total exports remained the major destination for Nigeria’s solid minerals exports.