The Federal Government has been advised by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, to allow states to develop their minerals and pay royalty to the central government.
Governor Wike stated this when the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uchechukwu Ogah, visited him at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Peoples Democratic Party Governor noted that the call was important because the Federal Government has failed to translate the mineral wealth into overall economic development.
He further stated that in order for the country to benefit from its vast mineral endowment, the federal government should concentrate on the formulation of policies that will facilitate an improvement in the governance of the mining sector to improve the 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's supposed to be," Wike said.
He applied to the Minister to push for reforms that will allow states handle their minerals resources and pay tax to the federal government.
"It is very important for people to know that part of the problem 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."
Wike noted, "If the country fully harnesses the gold deposit in Zamfara as well as other minerals in other states of the federation, the country will make a lot of revenue from these minerals that can accelerate development."
The Rivers State Governor expressed sadness that despite the possibility of the Ajaokuta Steel Company creating not less than 3,000 jobs and adding to the revenue of the country, the federal government, for political reasons, have failed to actualise the country's aspiration to become a major player in the global steel industry.
He added that his administration is set to work with the federal government to develop the mineral sector of the country.
Wike advised the federal government to shun "playing politics with issues of economic development" and strive to entrench the ideals of good governance in the country.
The Minister in his response, disclosed that he is in the state to share with the state Governor the vision and policy focus of the Federal Government for the development of the nation's solid mineral resources.
Ogah stated that his visit is to solicit for the support and partnership of the state government in ensuring the orderly and efficient exploitation of huge deposits of silica sand, glass sand and clay which are in the state for construction purposes and glass manufacture.
"In addition, permit me to also remind you of the abundant sea salt yet to be exploited in Rivers as a state bordering the Atlantic Ocean, which might also be an interesting area for collaborative development," Ogah said.
He commended the governor for the projects he has carried out to make life easier for the people of his state.
"Your administration has accomplished its mission as seen in the massive infrastructures, cultural integration, provision of essential social amenities and many other legacy projects for the prosperity of Rivers State people and Nigerians living and doing businesses in the State," he said.
Source: Naija News