Rivers state Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has proposed that the federating units should be allowed to develop and operate their respective minerals and pay royalty to the federal government.
He said this has become pertinent because the federal government which unilaterally controls the country’s rich mineral resources has failed to translate the wealth into overall economic development.
Special Assistant (Media) to the governor, Kelvin Ebiri, in a press statement quoted Governor Wike as making the assertion when the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu S. Ogah, paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Monday.
The governor said in order for the country to benefit from its vast mineral endowments, the federal government should concentrate on formulation of policies that would facilitate an improvement in the governance of the mining sector to improve social welfare of the citizens.
“The federal government is carrying so much load that they are not supposed to carry. Allow states to develop these minerals and pay royalty to the federal government. That is the way it is supposed to be.”
He urged the minister to push for reforms that will enable states and local governments take charge of mining of solid minerals in their domain and then pay tax to the federal government.
“It is very important for people to know that part of the problems in this country is that everybody is depending on oil when we are also supposed to look at other minerals. Minerals play a great role in terms of raising revenue for any country. So, our overemphasis on oil has reduced our impact on other minerals.”
He noted that if the country fully harnesses the gold deposit in Zamfara as well as other minerals in other states of the federation, the country would make a lot of revenue from these minerals that could accelerate development.