Abia targets over N200m revenue from solid minerals, forestry
Apparently, to shore up the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), Abia State has projected annual revenue of N200m from solid minerals deposit in the state.
The figure is expected from taxes from all quarries, burrow pits and dredging sites across the state.
Solid minerals, it was gathered, is one of the channels to raise funds for the state and improve its sustainability through IGR.
State Commissioner for Environment and Solid Mineral Development, Barr. Gabe Igboko, told reporters that the shift to solid mineral resources and forestry among others was to end years of low optimisation, especially at a time of economic diversification.
Igboko explained that the plan to raise revenue had begun with the addition of Solid Minerals to Ministry of Environment, new road map on solid minerals recently approved by the Federal Government and passage of the solid mineral bill by the Abia State House of Assembly.
He added that the ministry’s partnership and with concession agreement with Messrs. Redsticks Integrated Services Limited, as the sole agent for revenue collection, is the innovation introduced to drive the initiative.
Igboko said: “We didn’t really change what we met on ground, but fine-tuning what we met that are not the optimal. One of the things we did is to identify a team of consultant led by Dr. Abel Ekpunobi, because we know what he has done at the Federal level. We are putting in knowledge of experts like Dr. Chuma Igbokwe as well.
“The government’s policies are always there and it is the same across the country. The problem has never been not having lofty policies but its implementation and the mind to do it.
“In the area of solid minerals, our idea has been that the government cannot keep piloting its affairs the way it has been doing it over the years. Our chief consultant came up with a template. For most of these things to achieve maximum result, we have to concession, to identify competent organisations and we have the Mummy-Mummy Farms Limited and Redsticks Integrated Services Limited to handle the revenue generation aspect of the solid minerals. The innovative we have imbibed in the solid mineral aspect is already making waves.”
The commissioner said though the effort is not without resistance, both administrative and operational from beneficiaries of the hitherto skewed system. He, however, assured that efforts were on to redress the resistance in the interest of the state.
By the Abia State Sand Excavation and Quarry Sites Inspection, Registration, Loading and Maintenance Law, 2016, every quarry site, mining site or other solid minerals excavation site other than sand excavation site shall pay a registration fee of not less than N1m and not more than N5m, which shall be renewable every year.
Every sand-dredging site shall pay a registration fee of not less than N500,000 and not more than N1m, which shall also be renewable every year.
The law added that every sand excavation site shall pay a registration fee of not les than N50,000 and not more than N200,000. Every solid mineral site/ company be it mining, quarry and/ or sand excavation or the like shall pay a maintenance fee of N50 per ton or others as may be prescribed by the ministry.
Every person loading any solid mineral in the state shall pay the requisite loading fee per ton to the ministry: chipping; gypsum; limestone and so on, N100 per ton. Kaolin, laterite/ sand N50 per ton.
Concessionaire to the Solid Mineral revenue project, Dr. Chuma Igbokwe, said the State is emulating Lagos to raise its IGR through partnership agreements.