The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has said that solid minerals-producing states would enjoy 13 per cent derivation as crude oil-producing states as part of the efforts to encourage the development of solid minerals in the country.
Speaking in Lagos at the recent Economic Summit organised by New Telegraph, Fayemi, who was responding to a question by a former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, insisted that the solid minerals-producing states would enjoy 13 per cent derivation as oil-producing states.
He said the incentive would boost the development of solid minerals in the country.
“They (solid minerals-producing states) will enjoy 13 per cent derivation as oil-producing states. Just that 13 per cent from solid minerals is small for now because of the non-development of the sector. But with time, it will grow,” the minister said.
Fayemi predicted that crude oil was bound to become more and more irrelevant in Nigeria’s future, given the fact that the country was no longer the sole source of the commodity in the sub-saharan Africa.
He said with many countries emerging as oil producers, coupled with the efforts of the major buyers of Nigerian crude to become energy independent, Nigeria’s dependence on oil for revenue would not work for the country any more.
The minister said before crude oil became the dominant source of revenue for Nigeria, the country was the centre of Coal and Tin in Africa, stressing that many cities in the country had prospered from solid minerals before the country shifted focus to oil.
“Many may not remember when Petroleum Resources was just a small department in the Ministry of Mines and Power. Those who recall the years of Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno, the then Commissioner in charge of the Ministry of Mines and Power, petroleum was just a tiny part of that ministry. There was a time Nigeria was a Tin centre and a coal centre in Africa and cities grew out of coal and Tin. That was how Enugu and Jos have prospered and even Port Harcourt, as the destination for solid minerals,” Fayemi explained.
Fayemi said the story had changed in 1972 after the Arab oil embargo when Nigeria abandoned the solid minerals sector, adding that the Indigenous Decree of 1972 contributed largely to the fall of mining as all the foreign experts in the sub-sector left the country after the Decree was promulgated.
The minister also noted that even the Nigerian banks have neglected the mining sector as only Stanbic IBTC and First City Monument Banks are the only banks in Nigeria that have mining desk, apart from the Bank of Industry (BoI).
According to him, only less than one per cent of the loans offered by the banking sector go to mining.
Fayemi however added that with his intervention and that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) many banks had increasingly shown interest in the mining sub-sector, having realised that the sector was a major focus of this present administration.
He also restated President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to take Nigeria back to her glorious days, given the abundant opportunities in the solid minerals sector.