By Kasim Sumaina
The federal government has said its working towards the lifting of suspension placed on mining activities in Katsina State.
This is even as it noted that in a bid to attract investors and ensure the security of investments, it has put incentives such as zero per cent import duty on the importation of mining and metallurgical plant equipment, in place.
Disclosing this on behalf of the government, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, stated that punitive measures were being put in place that would see that illegal operators go to jail for two years without an option of fine.
The minister stated this during his sensitisation visit to Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Bello Masari recently, where he intimated him of the ministry’s effort to optimise revenue generation from mining of solid minerals.
He explained that with about 15 different minerals available in Katsina, the state has a lot to benefit if proper mining regulations were adhered to, adding that it could serve as a core stimulator towards an industrial revolution that would spur a wave of infrastructural development for the Katsina people.
According to him, “the ministry is working towards the lifting of suspension of mining activities in the state.”
Ogah, stressed that with the abundance of mineral resources, Nigeria has the capacity to generate revenue, grow the economy and develop infrastructure through mining.
He added that the ministry would want to have first-hand information about the operational status of the Dana Rolling Mill, which has been shut down for years, with a view to ensuring that commercial production return.
He however called for stronger collaboration between the federal, state and local governments to achieve full harnessing of mineral resources for economic development.
In his remarks, Governor of Katsina State, Bello Masari, said the visit was apt as it was the best time to look at other sources of revenue generation in the face of falling prices of crude oil, adding that the solid minerals sector holds the key for economic independence for the country.
He said the state was working on ensuring security and a stable political atmosphere that would attract the confidence of investors, saying that with the development of a secured mining sector, it would be able to deliver on its electoral promises and lift its people out of poverty.
Masari enjoined the ministry to confirm the suitability of land for mining purposes, especially from state governors before granting licenses to prospective miners in order to avoid the possibility of giving licenses on land that is already in use.