Loss of revenue: Senate threatens zero allocation to Ministry of Mines

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Disappointed by poor performance and continued dwindling revenue, the joint Senate Committee on Finance, National Planning, Gas Resources, Petroleum Upstream and Downstream has summoned o Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite.

The Committee on Friday fixed N15 billion as revenue to be generated by the Mining Cadastre Office in 2022 as against N4 billion it proposed, a condition that will determine approval of annual budget for the agency.

Chairman of the joint Committee, Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan also sent warning to any revenue generating agency that they will risk zero allocation, if they underperformed.

The invitation of the Minister was occasioned by failure of the Director-General of Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (NMCO), Engr Obadiah Nkom to offer satisfactory explanation on the persistent illegal mining across the country.

Obadiah’s revelation that a paltry sum of N2.58 billion revenue was generated in 2019 which also degenerated to N2.3 billion in 2020 shocked the Committee, even as they rejected the excuses by the agency that its poor performance was due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee was not also convinced by explanation that the revenue was gradually increasing as it has hit N3.166 billion as at July, as the Committee insisted on the Minister’s appearance.

Olamilekan said: “Your submissions on revenue generation is low and not impressive at all because big companies like Dangote Cement, BUA etc, with combined yearly profits of about N5 trillion are under your purview.

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“These are aside other companies carrying out illegal mining activities across the country that are not captured in your revenue generation.

“A lot of Chinese are involved in illegal mining in the country without your agency or any other one saddled with regulation of the sector, doing anything as far as licensing them and monitoring their explorations in form of collection of royalties are concerned”.

Reacting further, the DG reminded the Committee that its mandate stopped at lincensing of mining companies and not collection of royalties, adding that revenue was strictly generated from
licensing and annual service fees collected from firms.

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