The Federal Government has said that it was yet to receive a total of N17.12 billion from mineral exports’ royalties.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Oluwatoyin Akinlade, in Abuja during a presentation of the ministry’s progress report to the minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
It was noted that the unpaid royalties were accumulated within a four-year period, citing a non-standardised handbook for the exportation of solid minerals as a factor.
The minister said that the lack of a non-standardised handbook has led to prices in the local market on the same level as that which is obtainable on the international scene.
He said, “In the period spanning January 2013 to June 2017, a total of 2,670 mineral exports were made from Nigeria. Of these, only 56 were issued Mineral Export Permits by the Ministry of Mines & Steel Development and acknowledged to have paid royalties.
“During this period, unpaid royalties amounted to N17.12 billion which are still outstanding to the Federation Government.
“The absence of a handbook for standardized solid minerals export has also occasioned a situation where prices in the local mineral market are almost at par with international price benchmarks; this impedes ease of business for genuine exporters, as attaining reasonable margins become purposes, where profit margins are not the necessary incentives.
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“The non-oil export guidelines did not address the peculiarity of mineral exports, consequently a case for specific guidelines to guide solid minerals export was made by the Ministry of Mines & Steel Development and adopted for consideration by the export stakeholders.
“The guidelines were subjected to the rigorous scrutiny of the Extractive Hub through the Adam Smith Consultants and were compared with over 20 export guidelines from mineral exporting countries worldwide.
“The final draft was sent to the federal ministry of finance, budget & national planning for ratification and approval.
“After the consultative forum, the document was subjected to further scrutiny by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment (PEBEC) to ensure that the provisions meet with the Trade Across Borders indicators and would promote ease of doing business across borders.”
In her words, the finance minister stated that the mineral sector’s lack of harmony in price, quality, and country certificate of mineral origin has negatively affected the “repatriation of export proceeds”.
She said, “It is worthy of note that the mineral sector is generally characterized by the absence of requisite facilities and expertise to identify and assign accurate values to mineral consignments for proper declarations of their actual quantities, qualities and prices.
“Also, the inability to synchronize quality, price and country certificate of mineral origin negatively impacts repatriation of exports proceeds and collection of fees/royalties.
“Accordingly, streamlining the operations of the sector would help guarantee proper regulation of the sector and promote the deployment of appropriate technology/expertise to determine the quantity and value of minerals mined and exported.
“In addition, it would facilitate the collection of all the royalties/fees due to the Government from the export, ensure the integrity of data and determine the possible mineral derivation to their States of Origin.”