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Fayemi’s N3.1bn revenue target in 2017 very abysmal—Analyst

More experts have joined in opposition to the pronouncement of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, saying the N3.1bn revenue target of the ministry is unacceptable and an indication that the minister had failed to do the needful in the ministry in the last one year.

It would be recalled Dr. Fayemi, who appeared before the House Committee on Solid Minerals during the 2016 budget appraisal and 2017 budget defence had told lawmakers that the sum of N3.1 billion is expected to be generated in 2017 with focus on royalties and fees, saying N8.7 billion was for personnel, overhead N1.5 billion and capital N12.8 billion.

Responding to this figures, an economist, Chief Fred Nnaji said “The figures presented by the minister do not show that he; the minister has done his homework very well before now and in fact since he was named as the minister last one”.

“It will be unheard of for a minister to be proud to say in public that he is going to generate only N3.1bn if he is allowed to spend N23bn.

Nnaji argued that “Among the first things Fayemi would have done immediately he was named the minister for the sector is just what he has realized to do now. It means he is taking the country for a ride which may have been what he did in Ekiti that cost him a second term ticket”.

“To me, beginning now to carrying out an audit of the industry means the ministry has not been well driven in the last one year.

It would be recalled Dr. Fayemi, who appeared before the House Committee on Solid Minerals during the 2016 budget appraisal and 2017 budget defence. The minister said illegal mining would be one of the major priorities of the ministry in 2017.

The minister while decrying frustration over high rate of tax evasion in the country’s solid mining sector, said the ministry earmarked N171 million to recruit revenue consultants.

He said “So, we are doing an audit of the last five years and then we will build a consistent mechanism that will allow our federal mining officers in the states to work with these independent consultants in the generation of revenue. But we have to pay to make it work well”.

According to Ayo Musiliu, a miner in Jos, he told Business Hilights in a telephone interview that mining communities in parts of the country are yet to observe any meaningful reforms from the ministry in the last one, saying all they have been hearing is “Government is going to, going to and going to every time”.

“Ordinarily, the Minister ought to have met with us the real miners to hear direct from us because all those big players will not tell him what will help him to put the sector into shape because if the sector is well structured, he cannot e talking of generating only N3.1bn in a financial year.

Musiliu argued that “If the minister had met with us, the miners; he would have not been talking about paltry N3.1bn but more.”

The minister also told the lawmakers that his ministry has planned to establish a safer mining technique centre to promote safe mining in the country.

Fayemi said “This is important to us because we have had to deal with incidents of lead poison that confronted small scale informal miners and we believe we need to begin to develop a process that can also serve as a training opportunity for people who want to engage in small scale mining”.

“We are to support these people who are doing this thing as anti-poverty strategy by providing to build a skill base, to provide them with tools and to provide them with education,” he said.

“We have earmarked N500 million for research development and collaboration with universities and the ministry believes it is time for us to develop and strengthen that partnership in order for them to be of value to us,” Fayemi said.

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