Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has advocated the review of revenue sharing formula by the Federal Government to give more allocation to states based on mineral deposits and in adherence to the derivation principle.
He made the advocacy during a courtesy call on him by officials of Revenue Allocation And Fiscal Commission led by Mrs Matina Odom, currently on tour of solid mineral sector in the state.
“The review of revenue sharing formula to reflect the structure of the country based on equity, fairness and justice, is long overdue. The Central Government should look into this.”
Governor Emmanuel urged the team to take advantage of the tour to explore other solid mineral that abound in the state explaining that the quality of sand deposit available in the state is the best in the production of glass.
“I thereforeI call on the monitoring team to impress on the Federal Government to establish a clay refinery in the state in view of the fact that Akwa Ibom has good quality clay deposit that can be used in the production of ceramic and other products made from clay.”
While expressing appreciation to the Commission for categorising Akwa Ibom among solid mineral producing states set aside for exploration, the Governor acknowledged: “presently solid mineral sells higher than crude oil in the international market, in no time solid mineral would be a revenue earner for the country” and thanked the Commission for the visit.
Earlier in her speech, the team leader Mrs Matina Odom informed Governor Emmanuel that they are in the state to conduct a holistic auditing of activities of operators of formal and informal mining sectors of the state adding that the excercise is carried out in conformity with the provisions in paragraph 32 (a) part 1 of the third schedule of 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
She stated that the dwindling oil revenue has made it necessary for the country to diversify economy and explained that the monitoring is expected to cover the minerals and mining activities in the state as well as in the Local Government Councils from 2009 to 2015.
Mrs Odom indicated that solid mineral sector has contributed over 50% of revenue to the Federation Account since the beginning of economic recession and expressed optimism that with government effort at diversification, the solid mineral would yield more revenue to the Federation account.
She spoke of the need to block leakages and capture illegal miners into the tax net explaining that this would increase the share of the state as a beneficiary of the 13% derivation from non-Oil revenue as well as move the state to an appreciable level from the 31 position in the table of Non – Oil remitance State to the Federation Account.
The team Leader therefore enumerated the purpose of embarking on the nationwide monitoring of the solid mineral sector to include determination of mining companies licensed to operate in the state, ascertaining the number of mining leases issued to the operators, determining of the quantum of royalty and other taxes paid by the operators, determining of the artisan and illegal miners operating in the state, exploration of ways and means of increasing revenue generation from mining and solid mineral exploration, among others.
Mrs Odom expressed gratitude to the Governor for the reception and hospitality enjoyed in the state and prayed for good health and wisdom to enable the Governor deliver democratic dividends to the people of the state.