The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uche Ogah, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not been supporting the development of the mines and solid mineral sector which is needed to help the sector grow.
The minister made this known on Monday at a two-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy.
The forum was aimed at getting inputs of stakeholders to the contents of four bills on how to achieve rapid development of the solid minerals sector and also investigate the loss of $9bn yearly due to illegal mining and smuggling of gold.
The four bills include Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation Establishment Bill 2021, Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission Establishment Bill 2021, Institute of Bitumen Management Establishment Bill 2021, and the Explosive Act 1964 Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2021.
The minister said there was need to support research to enable growth of the sector.
Ogah said, “It is unfortunate that the Central Bank of Nigeria did not believe in us.
“If they believe in us, if they support us the way they are supporting agriculture; we will do wonders for this country.
“This is one ministry that is untapped, that is unknown, and that can change the landscape of our revenue.”
He added, “Equally, we need to ask the Ministry of Finance to speed up the export policy on solid minerals because that is the only way to have operators into the sector.”
Ogah further urged citizens to be involved in checking the activities of intruders in the mining sub-sector.