THE Nigerian Extractive Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is seeking the clearance of outstanding N2.7 billion debt owed the federation by over 2000 companies operating in Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.
The outstanding debt was disclosed in the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative 2020 report.
In a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja to announce the release of the 2020 solid minerals report, NEITI said the outstanding debt resulted from failure on the part of 2,119 companies to pay statutory annual service fees for mineral titles.
The report stated that 6,010 existing solid mineral titles were valid as of December 31, 2020, while 7,605 mining titles were issued in the sector in the past five years.
Presenting the Report before stakeholders in Abuja, Executive Secretary of NEITI Orji Ogbonnaya Orji stressed that against the backdrop of revenue challenges faced by the country, which had led to ever-increasing budget deficits, the organisation will use its reports to disclose potential revenue recoveries that are awaiting immediate action by relevant government agencies.
“It is of interest to NEITI that every kobo counts to reduce government financial burden, and our reports will continue to provide useful information and data on who owes what in the oil, gas and mining sector.
“This is another impact that our reports will pursue in line with our mandate,” Orji said.
He announced that the total revenue contributions from the sector rose to N128.27 billion in 2020, an increase of over 54 per cent from the N74.85bbillion recorded in 2019, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlights of the NEITI report showed that the sum of ₦8.89 billion was shared to the federating units as solid minerals revenue in 2020.
A breakdown of the figure shows that the Federal Government received N4.07 billion (45.83 per cent), while the states and local governments received N2.07 billion and N1.59 billion (23.25 per cent and 17.92 per cent) respectively.
The sum of N1.16 billion (13 per cent) was recorded as derivation share.
The NEITI Independent Solid Minerals Industry report tracked and reconciled financial flows in the sector, checked quantities of minerals produced, utilised and exported in 2020.
It also examined governance and process issues in the sector, outlined key findings and made far-reaching recommendations for urgent remedies.
For instance, it disclosed that 71.1 million metric tons of minerals were produced in 2020.
A breakdown of the total production showed that granite, limestone, sand and laterite were the highest contributors to minerals royalty payments recorded within the period.
NEITI further disclosed that five states of the federation topped the table, contributing 66 per cent of solid minerals produced in the country that year.
Ogun State recorded the highest percentage of solid minerals among the states in 2020, followed by Kogi, Cross River, Edo and Bayelsa states.
On companies’ activities that shaped business investments in the solid minerals sector, the NEITI report identified Dangote Cement Plc as the first, followed by Lafarge Plc, BUA International and Dantata and Sawoe.
The companies accounted for about 64 per cent of the total mineral production volume in 2020.
NEITI further disclosed that total minerals exports in 2020 amounted to 32.99 million tons valued at $42.46 million, while China with 80 per cent of the total exports remained the major destination for Nigeria’s solid minerals exports.
From the report, a total of N3.87billion was recorded in 2020 as social expenditure, representing an increase of 49 per cent over the amount expended for the same purpose in 2019.
Besides, N5.8 million was documented as environmental expenditure by three companies in the year, while information on Community Development Agreements was not disclosed.
The report further revealed that out of Nigeria’s total GDP of N152.32 trillion in 2020, the solid minerals sector contributed N686.64 billion representing only (0.45 per cent).
The sector’s contribution to the country’s exports during the period under review was a mere 0.14 per cent.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.