Senate upholds Kalu’s motion to end illegal gold mining and smuggling in Nigeria
On Wednesday, the Senate decided to end illegal mining and smuggling of gold into the country and to investigate $ 9 billion in annual losses in the mining sector in Nigeria as a result of the aforementioned illegal activities.
The decisions came following a proposal put forward by Senator Abia North and Senate Chief Knut, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, to investigate Nigeria’s $ 9 billion in annual mining losses. illegal and gold smuggling.
The Senate, in a plenary session chaired by Senate Vice President Ovi Omo Agege, called on the executive to intensify efforts to combat illegal mining and close all leakages of proceeds from such underground activities; and the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mining, Steel Development and Metallurgy to study the matter and report to the Senate within 6 weeks.
At the start of the debate, Kalu said Nigeria lost nearly $ 54 billion from 2012 to 2018 due to illegal gold smuggling. Pointing out also that the country is said to be losing about $ 9 billion a year from illegal gold mining and export, a huge amount of money is left out due to subtle sales of high-value goods.
Kalu said unlicensed mining operations are becoming more common in the industry, and the continued export of hard ore from the country by brokers and smugglers is leading to a loss of government revenue.
Kalu said Nigeria’s gold mines are capable of generating at least 250,000 jobs and more than $ 500 million annually in federal government royalties and taxes, as well as mineral resources.
Raising further concerns, Kalu explained that jobs and income generated in the mining sector would further diversify the country’s economy and increase foreign exchange reserves. He explained that with Nigeria’s current estimated gold reserves of more than 200 million ounces, most of which are not yet exploited, developing sustainable programs that will drive increased investment in gold mining and processing at mines in Nigeria is indeed vital.
Citing data from the Ministry of Solid Minerals and Development, Kalu said there are gold deposits in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, Abia, Bauchi, Cross River, Edo, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Oyo, Kogi, Zamfara, Osun and Afferma Kaduna.
Kalu argued that if the country retained its gold reserves and ensured efficient development, the accumulated revenues would exceed the revenues from oil and gas.
Kalu drew the attention of colleagues to section 44 (3) of Nigeria’s Minerals and Mines Act 1999, which states that ownership and control of all minerals in Nigeria belongs to the federal government, which is tasked with managing these natural resources. as may be determined by the National Assembly.
In his keynote speech, Senator Kalu told the Senate that illegal mining is a major contributor to the slowdown in the mining sector.
He said: “Dear colleagues, you will agree with me that illegal mining is one of the key problems hindering the development of the mining industry in Nigeria. If we fail to deal with this bleeding of our economy, we will literally bleed out.
In fact, according to Signal One International, US-based SOI reported in a 2016 report that Nigeria lost over $ 50 billion in taxes on gold profits in two years due to illegal mining and export of rough gold. Reports from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, also showed that Nigeria lost about $ 9 billion from illegal mining and gold exports from 2014 to 2015 and accumulated $ 54 billion over six years, ”Kalu concluded.
Kalu urged the Senate to further intensify efforts to combat illegal mining by closing all leaks.
While participating in the debate, Senator Smart Adeyemi expressed support for the proposal, while the Western Senator from Kogi expressed concern about the global decline in demand for crude oil and gas, which were the country’s main source of revenue. He stressed the need to protect the mining sector, which will serve as an alternative source of income for the country.
According to him, “the world economy today is thinking about how to reduce the use of crude oil and gas. In the coming years, many countries that depend on oil and gas will begin to pay attention to renewable energy sources. Essentially, pioneer countries will start looking for an alternative. It is difficult for countries today to sell their oil.
“If you look at the state of Zamfara, there is a huge gold deposit there. At night, you see trailers carrying foreigners and these are people involved in illegal mining. We need to involve executives because the solid minerals sector requires serious attention beyond the verbal.
Senator Ajayi Borofice, backing the movement, said the country’s gold deposits exceed South Africa’s gold reserves, stating the need to protect the sector from exploitation.
Source: – Nigerianaily