Stakeholders in the mining sector on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to focus more on strengthening sector governance in order to fully realise its economic diversification plan through mining.
Strengthening the sector governance, according to them, would enable government to manage the available mineral resources and compete favourably in the global mineral and mining market.
The stakeholders spoke through different presentations at the opening session of the inaugural edition of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD), which started in Abuja on Tuesday.
The opening session which was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Abass, was attended by state commissioners and permanent secretaries of mining ministries, officials of the Federal ministries of Environment, Justice and Defence, scholars, operators and representatives of financial institutions and host communities.
The speakers laid the ground for discussion by participants at the event by identifying various obstacles bedevilling the growth of the sector. They also hailed the on going reform in the sector with its attendant growth.
Noting that the country has well structured mining laws, they are of the opinion that government needs to do more in the area of enforcement of existing laws and strengthening of institution in order to achieve excellent result.
They also urged government to tackle issues such as geoscience data, illegal and unauthorised exports of minerals, illegal issuance of mining licence by some state governments, defaulting in the payment of taxes and royalties and multiple taxation among others.
Shehi Ibrahim Garba,the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in his presentation, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the mining law was put to work.
Al-Amin, in his presentation said mining has not been able to contribute meaningfully to the GDP because a good percentage of export in the sector remained unrecorded.
He adds that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be more involved in exportation of minerals, as it is done in other mineral-rich countries.
Speakers include a Geologist and Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Shehu Ibrahim Garba-a professor; Director, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, Patrick Ojeka; Mr Ebhota Al-Amin of the Mining Research/Policy Development of the MinDiver Office.
Others include Director, Mines Inspectorate, Engr K.F. Wuyep; Peter Akper of Equity Law Partners-a professor; and the Immediate Past President of Nigeria Mining and Geoscience Society (NMGS) /Chairman of Mining Implementation Strategy Team (MIST) Gbenga Okunlola-a professor at the University of Ibadan.