Minister urges National Assembly to review mining laws

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has appealed to the National Assembly to make a formal assessment of the mining laws with the view of increasing participation of state and host communities in the exploration of solid minerals across the country.

Dr. Fayemi who was speaking at the ongoing sectoral debate on the diversification of Nigeria’s economy at the House of Representatives, said the review of the laws will make the mining sector viable.

“If we are to really make a head way to aid mining, states and host communities must become much more active than they are now. They don’t have to be spectators, they should be central actors in the process and it will also help the federal government to monitor closely what is being done and reduce the level of illegal activities taking place if states are involved.”Fayemi told the law makers.

The Minister, who attributed the challenges confronting the development of the sector to obsolete laws, said Nigeria needs to spend more on exploration to unlock the potentials in the solid minerals sector.

According to him, some of the problems confronting the mining sector include; lack of data, poor exploration of the minerals and challenges faced by individuals operating in the sector among others.

The Minister added that “For mining to aid the diversification of the economy, the monopoly of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC needs to be broken to enable miners move minerals across the country for various purposes.”

He also encouraged the House to consider the possibility of ensuring that states benefit from 13% derivation in the mining sector as in the oil and gas sector.

The sectoral debate is the first of its kind in the legislature of Nigeria, where specific legislative time is being dedicated to undertake debates on particular sectors of the economy.