By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, Friday, wooed investors with low royalty incentive in the nation’s mining sector.
Adegbite who disclosed that royalty in Nigeria’s mining sector is the lowest among other countries said there is no need to default or cut corners to evade payment as government has put in place other incentives to support operators in the sector.
He stated this at the ‘Lagos Love Gold’s event organised by Kian Smith Refinery in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, in Lagos, as contained in a statement signed by Special Assistant to the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Ayodeji Adeyemi.
According to him (Adegbite) Nigeria’s royalty fee accruable to the government from gold export was a mere three per cent of the value of the export, and also one of the lowest gold export royalty fees in the world.
He further explained why the royalty rate is low on gold in Nigeria compared to other climes, which is to ensure and encourage investors to have a conducive business environment targeted towards growth and development of the sector.
He said: “One of the first things I did when I assumed office was to publish a pamphlet about the right way to export gold and we distributed the pamphlet all over the country and especially at the airport.
“It is perfectly legal for people to export gold out of the country. However, it must be done in the right way.
“You pay a royalty and our royalty rate is about the lowest all over the world. It’s just three per cent of the value of the gold you want to take.
“After you have fulfilled all the requirements, you would be given an export certificate which allows you to sell it anywhere in the world at the ongoing market rate.”
The Minister however frowned and warned that operators in the sector who are deep into cheating the government by refusing to pay royalty, and added that they are doing harm to themselves.
“You cannot have Export Certificate if you don’t pay royalty and because you don’t have the certificate you would be exploited by the foreign buyers who would buy it at a very low rate”, he said.
Meanwhile, he (Adegbite) maintained that it is the federal government’s resolve to diversify the economy through the mining sector, which policies have been formulated and are being implemented is already adding value and transforming the sector through the ease of doing business, hence the attraction of investors.
He said, “Nigeria as a country is blessed with so many minerals. Though the economy of Nigeria has been largely dependent on oil and gas we are coming to a situation where we need to diversify the economy away from oil and gas and that’s what we are doing through the mining sector.
“Since I have been in office we have been trying to deepen our activities in the sector and we have been encouraging the private sector to come along with us as we act as facilitators to entrepreneurs.
“There is a lot of gold trading that has been going on in Nigeria although in the informal sector. What we have done is to come up with policies that would harness all activities and bring out people from the shadows.”
He still reiterated that “We want to make Nigeria a major gold producing hub in Africa and this is why the administration of President Buhari has given so much support to this sector to ensure that we diversify our economy away from oil.”
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