By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, (NEITI) said Nigeria exported solid minerals worth 9.733 million dollars and earned N69.2 billion from the sector in 2015.
NEITI, on its latest independent audit report of the solid minerals sector released on Sunday in Abuja said it was an increase of 24 per cent on the N55.8 billion earned from the sector in 2014.
It also disclosed that the value of solid minerals exports from Nigeria in 2015 stood at 9.733 million dollars, which was 1.45 per cent of non-oil exports.
It noted that lead and zinc dominated Nigeria’s solid minerals export with 79 per cent valued at 7.7 million dollars, while 175 ounces of gold valued at 122,000 dollars were exported during the period.
It said that the solid minerals sector contributed 0.12 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, a marginal increase of 0.01 per cent on the 0.11 per cent contribution of the sector to GDP in 2014.
The report added that the total production of solid minerals in the country stood at 39.27 million tons, representing a reduction of 17 per cent from the 47.1 million tons produced in 2014.
It attributed the drop in production in 2015 to insecurity in parts of the country and the more stringent approval process for explosives used in mining.
However, the NEITI report noted that while mineral production reduced, government revenues went up in the same year.
“This increase in revenue was due to the growth in taxes collected from the sector and review of royalty rates paid by companies which came into effect within the year under review.”
The report noted that its previous solid minerals audit reports had recommended upward review of Nigeria’s royalty rates to align with prevailing industry and present day realities.
The report also highlighted the specific contributions by companies and states to the sector revenue growth and development.
According to the report, cement manufacturing companies were the major revenue contributors to the sector, accounting for over 60 per cent, while construction companies and real mining companies contribute about 31 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.
“For instance, three states- Ogun, Kogi and Cross River and the FCT accounted for about 70 per cent of the production volumes in 2015. However, Ogun state topped the table with 36 per cent,” the report noted.
The report further noted that a total of 4,305 mineral titles were valid in 2015, adding that of this figure, 204 were mining leases, 657 were for small scale mining, 1,865 were for quarrying licenses while exploration licenses accounted for the remaining 1579.
It also noted that 1,220 of the 4,305 mining titles were issued in 2015 alone.
It quoted the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, as saying that the report showed evidence that the contribution of the solid minerals sector to government revenues and macro-economic indicators is beginning to improve.
“The sector could definitely contribute more to revenues, job and wealth creation, exports, imports substitution, industrial development and overall national growth.
“But there is a sign of progress already. What we need to do is to build on, deepen and sustain this early promise to ensure that the country returns to being a major mining destination and maximizes the abundant opportunities offered by the sector.
“Faithful and sustained implementation of the roadmap developed by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and of the recommendations in this report will be necessary.”
Adio disclosed that the NEITI 2015 Oil and Gas report will be released next month, while he also reaffirmed the commitment of the Board to ensuring that its reports were more timely.
“The just released 2015 solid minerals audit report also recognised the progress being made by the government towards repositioning the sector to be a major driver of the economic and revenue diversification agenda of the present administration,’’ he said .(NAN)