The Federal Government has reinforced its effort to finding new means of revenue  generation to reposition the economy and grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the wake of falling oil prices due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the globe.

The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, stated this at a webinar Conference tagged “Nigeria in the Age of COVID-19”, held on the 30th of April 2020.

Dr. Ogah, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Kelechi Ekugo, disclosed that the ministry has doubled its effort in diversifying the Nigerian economy through the Mineral Sector by generating revenue to regrow and revamp the economy.

He added that the sector would be used as the key for industrial development in the country.

The Hon. Minister revealed that the Ministry, with it’s agencies, is developing a framework for the optimisation of revenue generation from the sector, saying that it has put in place modalities for ensuring that miners pay royalties due to the Federal Government.

He however noted that a database of all miners in the country is being created for proper monitoring and collection of royalties, stressing that the Federal Government is bent on stamping out illegal mining and ensuring good and lawful mining  practices.

He also stated that the Ministry has been working on ensuring artisanal and small scale miners are formalized to form Co-operatives with a view to assisting them access funds that would enable them optimize their production.

Earlier, Cheta Nwanze, one of the panelist, commended the Federal Government in working to formalize and document artisanal miners. He called for States to find creative ways of generating revenue other than relying on the federal government.

He also urged the Private sector to get more involved and engage the  government in policy making to ensure the full representation of their interest.

Another panelist, Chris Newsom, agreed that the economic survival of the country after COVID-19 would depend totally on diversification from crude oil.

Juliana Elaturoti, an Industrial Operator, stated that this is a wake up call for the country to explore the non-oil sector in growing its GDP. She implored the Ministry to encourage small scale miners to process the raw materials to meet International best practices before export.

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