Immediate past governor of Nasarawa State and Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, has called for the unbundling of the solid mineral sector to allow for participation by all and sundry.
The Senate Committee Chairman on Solid Minerals, made the call while presenting a paper during the townhall meeting organised by the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Organisation, in Lafia, on Thursday.
According to Senator Al-makura, the current legislation holding sway and controlling the solid minerals sector, the Mineral and Mining Act 2007, is deficient and constitutes a stumbling block to the full realization of the potentials inherent in the sector.
“This has overtime, stagnated wealth creation and job opportunities because of the lack of participation by states and local Governments,” he stated.
In a bid to further enhance the determination of the Federal Government to diversify the country’s economy, especially with the solid mineral sector being key component of this drive, Senator Al-makura disclosed that already, the ninth Senate is working on a bill which has so far passed first and second reading, which when passed into law, will bring about participation in the solid mineral sector for all and sundry.
Not only that, he said the proposed bill will see to the setting up of the Nigerian Mining Development Company Limited, which like the NNPC, will serve as a vehicle for unbundling the solid minerals sector.
“I am privileged to put forward a bill which has already passed first, second reading. We have even done the public hearing and the results coming out is positive. What remains now is to bring the bill before the Senate for third reading to conclude the legislative process.
“I believe the Senate, in conjunction with the House of Representatives, will come and have a conference and determine the possibility of getting this bill passes for immediate assent,” the Senate Committee Chairman on Solid Minerals said.
On the proposed NMDC, Senator Al-makura explained that, like the NNPC, it will be a state-owned enterprise, with private sector participation and governance control, the vehicle for unbundling the upstream and downstream commercial activities in the Nigerian mining sector.
“The NMDC will develop upstream exploration and production, midstream minerals processing and metallurgy and downstream logistics, trade and export, which will catalyst investment in the entire mining value chain in Nigeria,” he added.
The intended agency, will also coordinate minerals exploration activities for solid minerals located within Nigeria, with a view to developing mining assets to definitive studies what the miners call DFS and big search blocks to local and international investors through a transparent bidding process.
Most significantly, he pointed out that, the NMDC will create and manage the Nigerian Mining Development Fund, which will be an independent fund set up by the company as a channel for proper investment in the solid minerals sector.
“As a way of fast tracking that, the bill is proposing a structured private funding for 60 percent and 40 percent for government in asset. The fund will be sourced independently of the Federal Government from local and international banks and non banking financial institutions,” he stated.