FG earns N14.59bn from mining licences in five years

From 2018 to 2022, the Federal Government of Nigeria earned N14.59 billion from mining licenses and accreditation. 

Obadiah Nkom, Director-General of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, revealed this to journalists at the 63rd State House Ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja. 

The NMCO is in charge of managing and administering mineral titles in the country. 

The Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act 2007 established it in 2007 with clear mandates for the administration and management of mineral titles. 

The NMMA Act 2007 was re-enacted to repeal the Minerals and Mining Act No. 34 of 1999 and to regulate all aspects of solid mineral exploration and exploitation in the country. 

In 2018, 2019, and 2020, the agency earned N1.55 billion, N2.38 billion, and N2.57 billion, respectively. 

However, its revenue fell from N4.3 billion to N3.79 billion between 2021 and 2022. 

According to Nkom, the latest digital upgrades on its license processing platform hampered revenue inflow as activities were temporarily suspended. 

He revealed that the Cadastre Office has undergone three upgrades since 2007, ensuring the migration of its licensing platform to a real-time, automated system. 

"We had to do a lot of shutdowns because we were migrating to the new system. It happened while we were transitioning to the new system. We wanted to make sure that we didn't have a system that would fail after a day or two. 

"We had to test-run it, shut it down at times, do a lot of things and that was what affected some of our activities in terms of revenue. 

"But I can tell you that with the new system, we are going to have a very good increase, because even back then, we were able to form about 50% of the mining sector's revenue," he explained. 

According to Nkom, the Office's revenues are sent to the Federal Government's Treasury Single Account. 

He also stated that the majority of the revenue comes from application, processing, and annual service fees, which account for 50% of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development's annual revenue. 

"All payments have always gone to the government since the inception of the Mining Cadastre," he claims. We had no reason to use cash as a mode of payment even before the TSA was implemented. 

"At the time, we were using bank draft. When TSA arrived, it made things much easier, and I want to state unequivocally that 100% of our revenue is sent directly to TSA." 

According to Nkom, the agency now has approximately 6,000 registered miners nationwide after revoking 3,400 titles between September 2021 and September 2022. 

He stated that plans to increase revenue will necessitate the revocation of more unused titles in 2023. 

He explained that the agency will apply the "use it or lose it" mantra to mining title/rights administration. He also revealed that miners who lost their titles did not pay the required annual service fees. 

The DG stated that the agency prioritizes 'first come, first served' and 'use it or lose it' when allocating mining licenses. 

"How does the system operate? It is a use-it-or-lose-it situation. We've had cases where people receive licenses, keep them, and then never use them. The law is unequivocal on this point. What does this imply? We grant you permission. You lose it if you do not follow the Act's provisions. 

"How do you let it go? You lose it through revocation, and it is not arbitrary. We give you a notice of default and give you 30 days to correct the defect, as required by law. 

"On the 29th day, you have the option of correcting the effect. That is fine with us. But if you don't remedy the defects within 30 days, we revoke the title because we know all of these are subject to litigation," he explained. 

Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) appointed Nkom to a second and final four-year term beginning January 12, 2023. 

Nkom, who holds a Higher National Diploma in Mining Engineering from Kaduna Polytechnic, was appointed for the first time on January 12, 2019 for a four-year term.

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