RMAFC says a large percentage of miners illegal
Shettima Abba-Gana, acting chairman of the Nigerian evenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), has said that there are a lot of illegal miners operating in Nigeria’s solid minerals sector and depriving the country of much needed revenue.
He also called for the registration of illegal miners, to increase the nation’s revenue generation profile.
“If illegal miners are properly identified and given incentives, they will easily be captured into the tax net. What we need to do is register them; teach them modern mining, collect revenue from them and also let them expand,” Abba-Gana said.
He added that these miners will then need help with funding, organisation, marketing and processing.
“An illegal miner is not going to be ready to accept to come on board if he doesn’t know what his benefits will be.
“If you go and say you want to register them only for tax, they will probably not like it; but if you go to them with medical services, modern equipment and facilities for loan, they will willingly pay taxes,’’ he said.
While speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, Abba-Gana said that there is need for adequate funding of the to aid its work.
He disclosed that the commission currently lacked modern working equipment and personnel for effective field monitoring, adding that majority of miners in the country were engaged in illegal mining and sabotaging government of millions of naira.
“These are terrains that are not motorable or with very poor roads and you need a lot of staff because Nigeria is large and we need people to go see what is going on in the field,” he said. “We mentioned these lapses in our interim report and luckily N30 billion has been approved for the ministry; that is not enough, but at least it is a step in the right direction.’’
Abba-Gana disclosed that the commission is constantly engaged in a country- wide monitoring to sensitise states and local governments to the need to embrace diversification, to increase the revenue base of these states and the nation.
He said every state had a deposit of different types of solid minerals and urged state governments to develop interest in developing the sector.
The acting chairman explained that their registration would also assist the commission to have adequate statistics of the kind of solid minerals they were engaged in.
He said some of the minerals were actually security minerals which could be used in making bombs and other dangerous chemicals.
“So, it is important to know what mineral is being produced and where they are produced. It is also important to know who is producing them and where the minerals are going to,” he noted. “So as they are registered and tax is collected, the people are also trained to do proper mining.”
“Unlike what is going on in Zamfara where lead and other poisonous chemicals are being used, killing people, endangering the future generation and destroying the land,’’ he said.
The RMAFC was established to monitor accruals into the Federation Account and the disbursement of revenue from it.
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