Says inadequate to achieve diversification of economy
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Following 2021 budget defense by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, on Tuesday, at National Assembly, the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, has decried low budgetary allocation of 2021 proposed budget to the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Press, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Timothy Akpoili, for Director, Press, where the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adelere Adeyemi Oriolowo, who chaired the meeting, and other members of the Committee opined that much would not be achieved in the sector as far as diversification of the economy is concerned.
Oriolowo and other members of the committee called for an increase and adequate funding for activities by the Ministry based on the fact that there is huge potential to diversify the economy through revenue generation, wealth creation, and employment.
He also asked the Minister to make available to the Committee all relevant documents or information that would enable them to make an informed decision on the need for increased budgetary allocation for the sector.
However, the Committee tasked the Minister with measures and actions that would curtail and curb illegal mining and smuggling of minerals out of the country, which had led to an enormous loss of revenue due to government.
Earlier, the Minister told the Committee that the Ministry’s 2021 budgetary allocation is N22, 058,222,139, of which, N10, 188,565,772 is for Capital.
He also briefed the Committee on efforts being made to facilitate industrial mineral development that promotes self-sufficiency, as well as the development of the entire gold value chain aimed at increased foreign exchange earnings.
He (Adegbite) however, pointed out that inadequate fund is one of the major challenges facing the sector, which there is the demand to heavily invest in geosciences data generation and bankable data in order to attract big investors to the sector who in turn pay better taxes and royalties.