By Abba Gwale
The Senate, on Wednesday, has asked the Federal Government to investigate the alleged annual revenue loss of $9 billion to illegal mining and smuggling of gold in Nigeria.
It also asked the executive arm to intensify efforts in combating illegal mining, blocking all revenue leakages from such clandestine activities, and establishing gold mining firms to assist artisans and miners.
The resolutions followed a motion by the Senate’s Chief Whip and former Abia State governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, who noted that Nigeria lost close to $54 billion from 2012-2018 due to illegal smuggling of gold.
According to the lawmaker, the country is losing about $9 billion yearly to illegal mining and gold exportation.
He said gold mining operations in the country are capable of providing over 250,000 jobs and over $500 million annually in royalties and taxes to the federal government.
He emphasized that, this would further help in diversifying the nation’s economy and improve its foreign exchange reserve.
The Senate, accordingly, mandated its Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy to investigate all illegal mining and revenue leakages associated with the activities.