Governors of the 36 states of the country, under the auspices of the National Economic Council (NEC), have endorsed the efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari led government to diversify and deepen the nation’s revenue profile.The governor’s particularly endorsed and commended the federal government’s plan to increase the contribution of the solid minerals sector to the nation’s treasury.NEC also supported a presentation from the minister of power, works and housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on the ministry’s strategy to generate incremental power as a short term measure towards addressing the current energy shortage in the country.The council also expressed concern at the importation of some poisonous foods into the country
Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that the minister of mines and steel development had presented a Memorandum to NEC on the need to engage Independent Professional Revenue Consultants to increase the contribution of the solid minerals sector to the nation’s purse.
“The imperative of the memo, therefore, arose after a comprehensive review of the revenue generation profile of the mining sector and the need to plug avoidable revenue leakages, which occur due to the inadequacies inherent in the existing revenue collection systems.
“NEITI estimated the total revenue from the mining sector at N31.449 billion and N50.2 billion in 2012 and 2013 respectively, out of which only N1.9 billion and N2.01 billion respectively were remitted as royalties to the federal government,” it said.
It further noted that there were no records of royalty payment for the mining and export of billions of Naira worth of gold, precious stone, barites and other exported solid minerals, adding that the memo had become necessary in view of the crash in oil price which was the nation’s main source of revenue.
On power, the governors noted that the country does not have enough power to go round so government will systematically and decisively deal with the immediate task to harness incremental power from all available sources.
“DISCOs are encouraged to harness the estimated capacity of over 2,000 MW of unused/underutilised industrial/commercial generators fuelled by gas, oil and diesel that can be harvested.
“Such initiatives of harnessing such capacity to serve working target consumers are now progressing towards conclusion in Port Harcourt, Benin, Kaduna, Yola, Jos, Enugu, Ibadan, Ikeja and Eko distribution franchises with active support of the ministry.
“Locating generation capacity close to the consumers is an effective way to deliver incremental power to rural communities where most Nigerians live, many without any electricity supply,” it stated.
On the importation of poisonous food, LEADERSHIP had exclusively reported last weekend that there were strong indications that expired foreign rice smuggled into the country may have flooded Nigerian markets.
The commodity, according to LEADERSHIP’s investigation, was being imported from neighbouring Benin Republic.
Governor Okorocha cautioned the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other agencies that deal with quality of goods to do their utmost to ensure that only foods that meet the required standards are imported into the country.
He noted that that some of the frozen chicken and fish imports into Nigeria are being preserved with very dangerous chemicals.
Okorocha also disclosed that the federal and state governments will partner to ensure productivity and high yields in the agricultural sector.
“And again, we all resolved that agriculture should continue to take the centre stage in this country for now so that our country will be able to feed itself. If we are not able to do this, employment for our youth would be a mere dream,” the governor said.