2,000 Companies in Solid Minerals Sector Owe N2.76bn—NEITI

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By Adedapo Adesanya

More than 2,000 companies in the solid minerals sector owe the Nigerian government about N2.76 billion, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has alleged.

The agency disclosed this in a statement issued by its Deputy Director/Head of Communications and Advocacy, Mrs Obiageli Onuorah.

The NEITI Independent Solid Minerals Industry Report tracked and reconciled financial flows in the sector, checked quantities of minerals produced, utilised and exported in 2020.

Presenting the report before its multi-stakeholders, Mr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary, NEITI, said the companies’ liabilities resulted from failure on the part of 2,119 companies to pay statutory annual service fees for respective mineral titles.

Mr Orji said that 6,010 existing solid mineral titles were valid as of December 31, 2020, while 7,605 mining titles were issued in the industry in the past five years.

“At this time that government is desperate for revenues to finance the widening budget deficits, NEITI is determined to use its reports to disclose potential revenue recoveries, awaiting immediate action by relevant government agencies.

“It is of interest to NEITI that every kobo counts to reduce government financial burden, and our reports will continue to provide useful information and data on who owes what in the oil, gas and mining sector,” Mr Orji declared.

He announced that the total revenue contributions from the sector in 2020 rose to N128.27 billion, an increase of over 54 per cent from the N74.85 billion recorded in 2019 in spite of the COVID-9 pandemic.

Mr Orji said the report also revealed that N8.89 billion was shared to the federating units as solid minerals revenue in 2020.

“Breakdown of the figure shows that federal government received N4.07 billion (45.83 per cent), states and local government areas received N2.07 billion and N1.59 billion (23.25 per cent; 17.92 per cent) respectively while N1.16 billion (13 per cent) was recorded as derivation share.

The executive secretary disclosed that 71.1 million metric tons of minerals were produced in 2020.

According to him, a breakdown of the total production showed that granite, limestone, sand and laterite were the highest contributors to minerals royalty payments recorded within the period.

He further disclosed that five states of the federation: Ogun, Kogi, Cross River, Edo and Bayelsa topped the table, contributing 66 per cent of solid minerals produced in the country that year.

On companies’ activities that shaped business investments in the solid minerals sector, he identified Dangote Cement Plc as the first, followed by Lafarge Plc, BUA International and Dantata and Sawoe with the highest production.

This, he said, accounted for about 64 per cent of the total mineral production volume in 2020.

He further disclosed that total minerals export in 2020 was 32.99 million tons valued at 42.46 million dollars while China with 80 per cent of the total export remained the major destination for Nigeria’s solid minerals exports.

“From the report, a total of N3.87 billion was recorded in 2020 as social expenditure, representing an increase of 49 per cent over the amount expended for the same purpose in 2019.

“Besides, N5.8 million was documented as environmental expenditure by three companies in the year, while information on Community Development Agreements was not disclosed,” he noted.

Mr Orji said the report revealed that out of Nigeria’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of N152.32 trillion in 2020, the solid minerals sector contributed N686.64 billion representing only 0.45 per cent.

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