By Sunday Etuka
The federal government has harped on the urgency to improve procedures, documentation and regulations in the Nigerian solid mineral sector, as a deliberate government’s policy to develope its monumental mining potentials and minimise dependency on oil.
In her keynote address, at the recent stakeholders’ consultative forum on the review of the draft mineral exports’ guidelines held in Abuja, Mrs. (Dr.) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said that the policy has become more urgent in view of the present global economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as volatility of global oil prices which is the country’s main foreign exchange earner.
This is according to a statement by Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
“This effort, therefore, is another of such deliberate federal government policy measure that is aimed at developing its monumental mining potentials and minimising dependency on oil as the nation’s continues her drive towards a progressively diversified economic base,” she said.
According to her, 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 Government from the export, ensure the integrity of data and determine the possible mineral derivation to their states of origin. Mrs. Ahmed noted that the collection of guidelines has been designed to minimise revenue leakages and remove undue bottlenecks experienced in the process of transactions by both exporters of minerals and government regulatory agencies.
“It is envisaged that developing a more regulated mineral sector would obviously create conducive environment that would significantly enhance mining business in Nigeria. She noted that Section 22 and 23 of the Pre-shipment Inspection Export Acts No. 10 of 1996 empowers the Honourable Minister of Finance, as the Chairman of the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme, to issue directive and guidelines as may be required for discharging the objective of the Act.
The Act requires that no goods shall be exported from Nigeria except an inspecting agent appointed by government has issued in respect of the goods a clean certificate of inspection (CCI), she said.
In her words: “The formulation of distinct mineral exports guidelines by the federal government is basically to address the need to keep accurate mineral trade data, ensure effective monitoring of repatriation of export proceeds, optimise the collection of royalties and facilitate the implementation of government’s pre-shipment inspection policy on exports transactions to meet up with international best practice in line with the Marrakesh Protocol to the GATT 1994.
In his opening remarks, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, expressed his conviction that the implementation of the guidelines would go a long way to bringing sanity to the solid mineral extractive industry, and further informed direct investors’ decision.
The guidelines are in five segments with 11 steps, which include: Documentation and source; pre-shipment inspection; exit point document; shipment; and sanctions.The proposed document, according to Adegbite, would reduce the usual time for an export cycle from an uncertain current timeframe to 26 working days. Of these, the processing of exit point documentation and shipment will take five and three working days respectively, as desired by PEBEC. He called on the stakeholders to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the guidelines and take advantage of the environment created by it to foster their businesses.