FG bars states from collecting mining royalties

90

The Federal Government, on Thursday, warned states and local governments to steer clear of the collection of royalties and taxes from licensed miners operating in their domains.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, who gave the warning in Kaduna, also said  “miners and operators owe the Federal  Government more than N2tn,” calling on them to pay the debt.

Alake, represented by the acting Zonal Mines Officer, North-West Zonal Office, Kutman Ali, met on Thursday with members of the Licensed Minerals Holders, Laterite/Sand Operators Dealers in Kaduna.

While explaining that the purpose of the meeting was to unveil the ministry’s plan for miners and operators for 2024, the minister said  in Kaduna alone, miners and operators owed the Federal Government “over N300bn.”

We have made it very clear that in Kaduna State, every operator should make a bold step and clear their debt,” Alake said.

He stressed that operators must monthly pay royalties and taxes to the Federal Government, adding that royalties and taxes were the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government.

He said, “Let me clarify it, state government and local government are entitled to collect other taxes, such as ground rent and other taxes, but they are not to collect royalty and tax on mining.

Any state government or any local government that collects money in the name of royalty or mineral tax will have it deducted from their federal allocation.”

He added that the administration of  President Bola Tinubu was determined to halt the activities of illegal miners across the country.

Alake described the activities of illegal miners as unacceptable and a huge crime against the nation.

He, therefore,  directed the Special Mines Task Force activated in Kaduna State to clamp down on illegal miners.

The Special Mines Surveillance Task Force has men of the Nigerian Army, the police, civil defence, Department of State Services, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service while the team is headed by Mines Officers in the State.

He said, “The Special Mines Task Force has been activated in Kaduna State and they have commenced operation on the war against illegal mining and non-payment of royalties, which must be paid on a monthly basis as well as other taxes to the Government of Nigeria.”

He warned miners and operators against going to the field without licence, adding that those who  had obtained their  licences “should report to the Mines Office, Kaduna to collect Permit to Mobilise to Site.”

explained that the mining sector under the Tinubu administration was given a top priority, noting that the importance of the meeting could not be overemphasised.

In his brief remarks, the Chairman of the Miners Association of Nigeria, Kaduna branch, Ado Dogo, represented by the secretary of the association,  Kashim  Hussaini, said the interface between miners and the regulators was imperative to address the challenges bedevilling the mining sector.

“As miners, we are operating within states, local governments and even down to villages but sometimes, state governors can stop you from working. Meanwhile, this mining operation is what we are doing by contributing to the federation account,” he said.