Lagos — The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development have committed to strengthen cooperation to improve revenue contributions from mining sector to the Federation account.
The two made the commitment yesterday when the NEITI Executive Secretary, Dr. Orjo Ogbonnaya Orji, led a team of his management staff on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in his office in Abuja.
Dr. Orji explained that the ministry and NEITI need to partner more closely in order to ensure that the revenues and contributions from the solid minerals sector are accounted for and properly attributed to the Ministry.
He noted that his vision for NEITI which is “Relevance built on revenue growth and impact” aligns with the findings of the latest NEITI solid minerals report which showed phenomenal revenue growth from the sector. He however added that more can be achieved if the Ministry and NEITI share information, data as well as capacity building of the staffs.
According to Dr. Orji “I appeal to the minister to take special interests in the work that NEITI does because it will support the on-going reforms in the Ministry. When you have reliable data, it can be used to institute effective planning and governance of the sector and diversify the revenue sources of the nation”.
Dr Orji added “NEITI mandate is all about reconciling what companies paid to government and what government received in taxes, royalties, rents and all statutory titles and payments. I must confess that all your key parastatals and departments cooperate with us during this reconciliation exercise, but we could deepen this relationship further. The Mining Inspectorate Division needs to be more responsive and share timely data on royalty payments to enable us report more accurately revenues accruing from the ministry and plug leakages where they exist”.
The NEITI Executive Secretary also requested that the Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, Mines Environmental Compliance Department, MECD and Research and Strategy Departments should equally share data and updates on policies and initiatives which the ministry is embarking upon. “We need to know about these policies and programmes. It is better we speak on them at the local level”. The Executive Secretary stated.
Responding, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite commended NEITI for its huge contributions to Nigeria’s extractive sector governance and reforms.
“I give kudos to NEITI for helping so many operators in the sector to be transparent. The pursuit for transparency is not an easy one and this has strengthened the sector”, the Minister affirmed.
Arc. Adegbite gave insight into the activities of the Ministry in the areas of artisanal mining, Mine Inspectorate, digital infrastructure, implementation of the roadmap on solid minerals development and the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee, MIREMCO.
“The ministry has a very robust server that won awards internationally and cost government a lot of money to develop. When this server is fully deployed, our operations and processes will be fully automated and data will be available real time. We are also working on upgrading our Information Technology, IT infrastructure with galaxy backbone.”
Arc. Adegbite also noted the ministry’s support towards engendering women inclusivity in its operations. “We are gender friendly and we encourage gender inclusiveness as we constantly improve and give energy to women so that they can earn their rightful place.
The visit of the NEITI Team provided the opportunity for NEITI and the MMSD to devise strategies that will deepen their relationship and partnership to enthrone a regime of transparency and accountability in the nation’s solid minerals sector.