NIGERIA’S mining industry has generated N6.9bn ($16.7m) between 2019 and the first half of this year as the government policy of issuing licences to private prospectors is yielding dividend and raising revenue for the treasury.
Heavily dependent on crude oil for its survival, Nigeria has had to look at ways of diversifying her economy lately due to the volatility in the sector. Mining along with agriculture are seen as key untapped resources that offer great potential and the federal government has stepped up activities in both sectors.
According to the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office (NMCO), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, almost N7bn was generated from the issuance of mining licences between 2019 and the first half of this year. Other sources of income included applications for mineral titles and permits as well as applications for the transfer, renewal, modification and relinquishment of mineral titles or extension of areas.
In 2019, N2.58bn was generated and in 2020 despite the lockdown, a total of N2.303bn was raised, with N2.016bn realised between January and June 2021. Obadiah Nkom, the NMCO director-general said over 34,678 applications for licenses have been received since the creation of the agency.
He added that the number 17,612 applications was approved, 15,483 were rejected, 4,997 were revoked and 6,588 active titles are presently in existence. According to Mr Nkom licenses are only revoked when people given the licenses refuse to work on or when they refuse to pay the required dues.
Mr Nkom added: “So far, we don’t just revoke today and give to Mr V tomorrow. No, we revoke and protect the area during that period of three months or whatever.”