The Federal Government has frowned at the poor contribution of the solid minerals sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue generation, as it revealed that oil and gas earnings surpassed revenues from solid minerals by over $392.6bn.
Nigeria’s solid minerals sector and its oil and gas industry are both extractive sectors from where the country generates revenue, being a natural resource-rich nation.
But figures obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Friday from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an agency of the Federal Government, showed that the solid minerals sector generated about $1.4bn (N624.6bn at the current official exchange rate) in 13 years for the country.
Whereas the oil and gas sector, a sister extractive industry, generated $394bn in 10 years, surpassing the 13 years revenue figures of the solid minerals sector by $392.6bn.
In its just-released Strategic Plan 2022 – 2026, NEITI stated that it would now focus on the solid minerals sector, stressing that if the industry was thrown open to investments, it had the potential of contributing over 60 per cent to the nation’s GDP, rather than its current palty 1.8 per cent contribution.
Figures from NEITI’s latest strategic plan showed that Nigeria earned N7.6bn, N10.6bn, N19.2bn, N17.1bn and N27bn in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively from solid minerals.
Data from the document indicated that in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 the country raked in N25.6, N30.3bn, N49.2bn, N64.5bn and N43.2bn respectively from the solid minerals sector.
NEITI further stated that Nigeria garnered N52.8bn, N69.5bn, N80bn and N128bn from solid minerals in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.
But it expressed displeasure over the output from the sector, describing it as poor, adding that findings by NEITI showed that the solid minerals industry had good revenue-generating potentials.
“We are very displeased that the solid minerals sector currently contributes a little over 1.8 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP. This is an enormous sector that can grow the economy more than oil,” the Executive Secretary, NEITI, Ogbonnaya Orji, stated, while speaking on the agency’s new strategic plan.
He added, “Our projection is that if the solid mineral sector is thrown open for investment, that it has the potential to contribute over 60 per cent to the nation’s GDP. At 60 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP would mean outperforming oil.
“This is our target. We have done an extensive scoping study and seen the potential of the solid minerals sector. We have already identified six strategic minerals for focus, including gold and others. NEITI’s next major focus would be on the development of these strategic minerals.”
Orji stated that so far, NEITI had conducted and published 11 cycles of audits in the solid minerals sector, spanning the years 2007 to 2020.
“From the NEITI reports, a total of N624.1bn was recorded as revenue that has accrued to the government from the sector over a 13-year period, which in today’s exchange rate amounts to about $1.4bn, compared to the enormous $394bn earned in the oil and gas sector in just 10 years.
“This shows negligence to the enormous potential in the solid minerals sector. NEITI in line with its mandate encourages disclosures of payments accrued to the government in order to build trust among the stakeholders and promote transparency and accountability in the management of solid minerals resources,” he stated.
He, however, stated that the Federal Executive Council was already developing a draft bill that would amend the 2007 Mineral Act and liberalise the solid minerals sector for inflow of investment.
Orji observed that there was a deadlock between the federal and state governments over who actually should collect what taxes.
“We hope that NEITI would be availed of the draft document to make an informed position as we did in the Petroleum Industry Bill. NEITI will be moving fully into the solid mineral sector to draw the same attention we drew to the oil and gas sector, drive reforms and ensure that revenues from the sector are prudently deployed for the growth and development of our country,” he stated.