The Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has urged the Federal Government to compel companies with licences or leases to mining fields in the state to start operations or have such rights revoked.
According to Vanguard, the governor expressed that the practice of holding on to mining leases without utilising them could be eliminated if governors were involved in the review process leading to issuance of licences.
Vanguard reports that Ugwuanyi spoke when members of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Enugu, yesterday.
The governor, however, lauded the Federal Government in its efforts to diversify the economy and reduce the country’s dependence on oil, pointing out that the measure would improve its revenue and bolster economic activities across the country.
His words: “We have to say that this initiative is even more important for Enugu State; a state that is richly endowed with solid mineral resources but which, paradoxically, has gained so little from their existence especially after the collapse and eventual winding up of the Nigerian Coal Corporation due to nonchalant and uncooperative attitude of owners of mining leases and licenses in the state.”
Furthermore, Ugwanyi frowned at what he described the excessive amount of revenue lost by all tiers of government through non-payment of royalties, VAT, tenement rates, land use charges as well as income tax by these companies, the urged the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution to ensure transfer of prospecting and exploitation of minerals from the exclusive list to the concurrent list to allow the states to be part of the process.
Vanguard reports that the acting Chairman of RMAFC, Mr Shettima Abba Gana, said that the visit was part of their nationwide tour to monitor the revenue accruable from solid minerals, as well as to audit the activities of miners and major operators in the mining sector.