The Federal Government on Monday threatened to revoke the mining licences of operators who fail to cooperate with the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in the generation of relevant data for the 2011 solid minerals sector audit.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Sada, warned operators in the sector to desist from acts capable of defeating the goals of the planned audit.
He spoke at a workshop organised by NEITI for the 2011 solid minerals sector audit in Abuja.
Sada said, “Distinguished operators of the solid minerals sectors, it is important that I state here that cooperating with NEITI during this audit period is mandatory otherwise, you will be in default of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, which is very clear on the declaration of all results of your mining operations.
“The penalty for non-disclosure of required information may include revocation of mining licences, among others.”
The workshop was to enlighten operators on how to complete template forms designed to capture information considered vital for the successful conduct of the audit.
Sada noted that full cooperation with NEITI on the audit exercise would not only build a prosperous solid minerals sector, but would also enhance the present administration’s aspiration of diversifying the nation’s economy.
The minister explained that the 2007-2010 NEITI audit report helped expose numerous lapses in the sector.
These, he said, enabled the ministry to strengthen its system by closing up the gaps and improving on revenue collection as well as accountability in tax and royalty regimes, among others.
Sada said as an aftermath of the previous NEITI audit, his ministry made a presentation to the Economic Management Implementation Team, proposing the development of a sector-specific fiscal regime that would put in place a Mining Industry Tax Act.
According to him, the ministry also commenced collaboration with infrastructure ministries to facilitate proper assessment of revenues.
The minister said the audit report led to the establishment of the Solid Minerals Development Fund, which had facilitated the computerisation of the issuance and management of mineral titles.
In her remarks, the Executive Secretary, NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the workshop was organised to sensitise stakeholders on the scope of the audit as well as reflect on the 2007-2010 solid minerals audit report.
Ahmed said the 2007-2010 audit revealed an un-reconciled difference of N687m as total aggregate discrepancy.
This, according to her, is 12.5 per cent of the total government receipts over companies’ payments.
Information from Punch was used in this report.