11 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, has called on the Federal Government to renew the regulatory process in the mining and minerals sector in order to ensure increased participation of states in the sector.
Speaking during a courtesy call on him by the executive members of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS, led by its President, Prof. Silas Sunday Dada, at the Government House, Ilorin, the Governor said the review would unblock the huge potentials in the sector.
Ahmed, who observed that there are huge potentials in the sector, advocated measures to improve the present way in which the mining business is carried out.
According to him, “If the mining sector is truly structured in a way and manner that favours sub-national development, it will increase revenue accruable to states.”
Governor Ahmed said the state government is keen on developing the mining sector with a view to unlocking its potentials and create jobs opportunities for unemployed youths.
Earlier, Dada had in his remarks praised the governor for his efforts in developing mining sector in the state.
He expressed gratitude to Ahmed for his support to the association, saying that they were in the state for the society’s general meeting.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi had recently urged state governments to get involved in solid minerals exploration and exploitation for the economic development of their respective states and growth of the nation in general.
Fayemi also kicked against what he considers are “residues of our authoritarian past” wherein state governments are left completely in the dark about mining operations in their states, arguing that the nation must be pragmatic, and engage local authorities if it hopes to optimize the benefits of exploitation of its natural resources.
The Minister noted that there is no excuse for states not to be involved in mining operations given the huge potential of the sector for job creation and wealth generation.
According to him, “There is nothing in any law in this country that prohibits states from being active participants in the development of minerals endowed within their territories. As a former governor, I know where the shoe pinches government and I know the importance of this to state governments who want to increase their revenue base.
“But I also know that the law that is referred to (Section 39 of the Constitution) which puts exclusive control of mineral resources on the Federal government does not foreclose that states can get involved in mining; the law does not in any way suggest that states cannot form their own special vehicle or enter into partnership with joint venture operator in order to develop the resources that abound in their domain. That is an excuse for inaction if states say that.”
However, according to the Minister, the federal government must actively encourage states to play a part. “If anyone imagines that the minister will sit in Abuja and simply because someone has a license can just enter into Share in Kwara State and start operating without some level of engagement with the local authorities, that is not right.
“I think it is a misnomer. That is not the intention of our Constitution. It is the residue of our authoritarian past that is still allowing people to feel that that is what exclusivity refers to. I want to assure the governors that we need to partner.”