The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) says the Federal Government earned a total of N79.9 billion from the solid minerals sector in 2019.

This is contained in its 2019 audit report, presented by Dieter Bassi, NEITI technical director, in Lagos on Tuesday.

The report showed that the revenue earned in 2019 is the highest in five years, which increased from N69.5 billion in 2018; N52.76 billion in 2017; N41.98 billion in 2016; and N69.2 billion in 2015.

NEITI said the royalties received in the sector increased from N1.96 billion in 2018 to N2.50 billion in 2019.

Also, production volume rose to 59.83 million tons in 2019 compared to the 40.7 million tons recorded in 2018.

Of the 59.83 million tons, Ogun, Kogi, and Cross River states accounted for 37.92 million tons with 18.65 million tons, 12.77 million tons, and 6.50 million tons, respectively.

According to the report, limestone, granite, and laterite were the most produced minerals in 2019, accounting for 55.03 million tons.

However, export volume production sharply declined to 7.09 million tons from 124.75 million tons in 2018.

China was the highest destination of solid minerals from Nigeria, representing 95 percent of exports, while 61 companies exported materials from the sector.

On the impact to the economy, NEITI said the solid minerals sector contributed N368.99 billion, representing 0.26 percent of Nigeria’s 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) – which was N144.210 trillion.

It also said the sector had contributed N917.02 billion to the economy in the last five years.

Despite revenue growth, NEITI said the sector faced challenges including underpayment of royalties and non-payment of taxes by some companies, lack of effective monitoring and supervision, and slow pace in the development of metallic minerals, causing potential revenue losses to the government.

In his remarks, Ogbonnaya Orji, NEITI executive director, said the agency’s mandate is to improve transparency and accountability in the extractive industry for the benefit of Nigerians.

Orji said although the NEITI Act of 2007 focused on the oil and gas industry, it is now moving towards the solid minerals sector.

He said the 2020 report of the solid minerals sector would be released in September this year.

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