Reps’ committee tasks government on diversification

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Solid Minerals has urged the ministry of solid minerals development to reposition the sector to be more organised for the nation to tap from its revenue potentials for national development.

The committee Chairman Samaila Sulaiman made the call in Abuja when the officials of the ministry appeared before the committee to defend the ministry’s 2016 Budget estimates.

The lawmakers urged the ministry to partner with the academics to generate accurate data from geological surveys to determine the nation’s vast solid minerals deposits across the country.

They also called for the registration of artisan miners for the formalisation of their job to check illegal mining and guarantee accruable revenues to the government.

The Minister, Kayode Fayemi in his submission gave the assurance that he will revoke non-working operating licences, and that erring operators would be sanctioned.

“We have indulged this for too long and when you come in heavy-handed, you might be in trouble but our people must support us,” the minister noted.

The solid minerals sector currently employs about five million people, but mostly artisans, thereby denying government any revenue from the sector.