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FG To Sanction Erring Miners

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The Ministry of Mines
and Steel says plans are underway to sanction mining operators that fail to operate within the laid down procedures in the country.
The Minister of Mines and Steel, Alhaji Musa Sada, said this in Abuja last Monday at the template workshop for the 2011 Solid Minerals Sector Audit organised by the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
Sada said the ministry was already working with NEITI and other stakeholders in the sector to ensure professionalism in the sector.
He said that the ministry would revoke the mining licences of operators that failed to operate in line with the laid down procedures.
“The penalty for non-disclosure of required information may include revocation of mining licences, amongst others.
“We, in the ministry, will not only support NEITI but will work with them (it) to ensure that this cycle of Audit are successful.’’
He said the 2007 to 2010 NEITI audit report had exposed some of the anomalies in the sector, which included under collection of mining revenues, inadequate funding and unethical activities of artisans.
Sada expressed optimism that the synergy with NEITI would lead to improved revenue collection for government and enhance transparency and accountability in the sector.
“It is very important that I state here, that cooperating with NEITI during this Audit period is mandatory,
“Otherwise, you will be in default of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 which is very clear on declaration of all results of your mining operations.’’
Earlier, NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, in her opening remarks, said the workshop was organised to acquaint mining companies and government agencies on the templates designed for the audit exercise.
“The audit is expected to track solid minerals sector fund collected by various Government Agencies to the Federation Account,
“Other objectives of the exercise include the reconciliation of the payments made by major players (Companies/entities) in the solid minerals sector in Nigeria with Government receipt of revenues during the period 2011.’’
She said the 2007 – 2010 audit report recently released by NEITI revealed that the Federal Government received a total of N54.5 billion from the mining companies while the companies reported they paid N53.8 billion in the form of taxes and royalties.
Ahmed also decried the lack of effective regulatory and monitoring framework in the sector and called on all stakeholders  to support the Federal Government in transforming the sector.
The workshop was attended by officials of NEITI, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel, Mining Cadastral Offices, representatives of mining companies, Civil Society Organisations and Development Partners.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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