After Sen. Kalu’s Motion, Senate To Investigate Illegal Exportation Of Gold Worth $9bn Yearly
As the country grapples with dwindling revenue, Senate has concluded plans to begin a 3-day public hearing to investigate the yearly loss of $9billion as a result of illegal mining and smuggling of Gold out of Nigeria.
This public hearing scheduled to commence Monday follows a motion moved by Senate Chief Whip and Senator representing Abia North, Sen. Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.
Our correspondent gathered that the three-day public hearing to address the illicit activities in the nation’s mining sector especially as the activities of illegal miners continue to cause revenue leakage.
Recall that the Senate at its plenary session last year passed resolutions to investigate the loss of revenues worth billions of dollars due to illegitimate mining.
Giving analysis to his colleagues, Kalu disclosed that Nigeria lost close to $54b from 2012 to 2018 due to illegal smuggling of gold.
While also pointing out that the country is said to be losing about $9 billion yearly to illegal mining and gold exportation, a huge amount of money unaccounted for through under-the-radar sales of the expensive commodity.
Kalu disclosed further that the activities of unlicensed miners were becoming prevalent within the industry and the incessant smuggling of the solid mineral out of the country by middlemen and smugglers, is leading to loss of government revenue.
According to Kalu, gold mining operations in Nigeria are capable of providing no fewer than 250,000 jobs and over $500 million dollars annually in royalties and taxes to the federal government and as mineral resources.
Raising additional concerns Kalu explained that jobs and revenue accrued to the mining sector would further diversify the nation’s economy and improve the foreign exchange reserve. He elucidated that due to Nigeria’s current estimated gold reserves of over a 200million ounces, most of which have not been exploited, developing sustainable programmes that will catalyse increased investment in the extraction and refining of gold sourced from mines in Nigeria, is indeed vital.
Making reference to data obtained from the Ministry of Solid Minerals and Development, Kalu revealed that there are gold deposits in Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Abia, Bauchi, Cross River, Edo, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Oyo, Kogi, Zamfara, Osun, and Kaduna states.
Kalu argued that if the country conserves it’s gold reserves, and ensures effective exploitation, the accruing revenue would surpass that of oil and gas.