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Reps propose five percent revenues for solid minerals host communities

Lawmakers advocate for equitable distribution of mineral wealth amid calls for institutional reform

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The House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals unveiled a proposal to allocate five percent of solid mineral revenues to host communities, aiming to address longstanding grievances and bolster community development initiatives. Jonathan Gaza, the committee’s chairman, outlined the proposal during a public policy dialogue on Nigeria’s minerals and mining legislation held at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja.

Gaza detailed the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill, which, if passed, would earmark five percent of total mineral revenues for host communities. Additionally, the bill seeks to establish a Mines Inspection and Environmental Agency to enhance oversight of mining activities and foster collaboration between federal and state governments through the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee.

Emphasizing the need for equitable resource distribution, Gaza highlighted the bill’s provisions prioritizing community development and environmental protection. He underscored the significance of empowering host communities, echoing the model established in the Petroleum Industry Act, which designates three percent of annual operational expenditure for host communities.

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, a participant in the dialogue, lamented the disparity between non-Nigerian operators’ profits in the solid minerals sector and the limited benefits accruing to Nigerian citizens. He advocated for comprehensive institutional reforms to maximize the sector’s potential for national development.

Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu emphasized the transformative potential of the proposed legislation, envisioning it as a catalyst for unlocking Nigeria’s vast mineral resources. Kalu underscored the imperative of diversifying the economy, creating jobs, and harnessing mineral wealth to bolster GDP contributions.

Despite Nigeria’s abundant mineral reserves, which encompass over 40 commercially viable minerals, the mining sector’s contribution to GDP remains marginal at 0.3 percent. Kalu cited challenges such as insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and a scarcity of skilled manpower, which the proposed amendment bill aims to address.

Highlighting ongoing initiatives like the Segilola Gold Project in Osun State, Kalu underscored the positive strides in attracting investment and revitalizing the mining sector. The dialogue served as a platform to galvanize support for the bill and mobilize efforts toward sustainable mineral resource management for the nation’s prosperity.

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