The Nigerian government plans to set up a mining surveillance task force to keep illegal mining activities in check.
According to the country’s Minister of state for Solid Minerals and Steel development, Bwari Abubakar, the ministry is working hard to block revenue leakages, especially at the borders, due to this act.
Statistics show that in 2018, the sector contributed approximately 0.30 percent to Gross Domestic Product, a sharp contrast to the historical higher percentages recorded in the 70s of about 4 to 5 percent.
According to Abubakar, contribution of 0.3 percent to national employment and 0.02 per cent to exports, underscores the fact that the sector’s potential for national development and wealth creation have not been harnessed.
The ministry has an on-going collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs to ensure that the minerals are not smuggled out of the country, noting that plans are also underway to organise miners under a cooperative to provide access to loans and equipment.
The federal government has also set up the National Integrated Exploration programme to comb the nooks and crannies in a bid to identify solid minerals that would aid the country’s diversification strategy.