From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Despite the socio-economic challenges impacted by COVID-19 on Nigeria and other countries across the world, some agencies like the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), have remained resilient, generating N9.384 billion.
The Director General, MCO, Engr Simon Obadiah Nkom, revealed this during a media interactive session in Abuja.
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Nkom explained that the N9.384 billion was generated within a period of three years based on the pragmatic and proactive measures put in place to keep the wheels of MCO running as far as revenue generation is concerned in accordance with the Act establishing the agency.
He said,he used the Act establishing MCO to run after those who have defaulted in payment of revenue due the government, and that moved many defaulting mining companies to pay their debt, especially as he invoke d the ‘Use It or Lose It’ policy.
He maintained that in 2019, N2.580 billion was generated for the federation account, while for 2020, which was the period of the pandemic, MCO surprised everyone by generating N2.303 billion, despite the lockdown.
While giving a breakdown of revenue generated by the office, Nkom, who was appointed on January 11, 2019, stressed that though the agency has been generating revenue for the government but at a time when everyone was battling the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, the MCO was able to generate the sum of N2.13 billion in 2017, which though dropped sharply to the sum of N1.55 billion in 2018.
According to him, in 2019, the office raised the ante by N2.58 billion which was the second highest since inception of MCO in 2007 and despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, said in the first quarter of 2021, from January to May, it was able to rake in N2.016 billion while at December 31, 2021, the revenue generated rose to N4.3 billion, which was the highest revenue generated ever by the office.
On mineral titles, Nkom eplained that the right to search for or exploit any mineral in Nigeria is governed by different mineral titles.
He listed the titles obtainable in the country to include the Reconnaissance Permit (RP), Exploration Licence (EL), Small Scale Mining Lease (SSML), Mining Lease (ML), Quarry Lease (QL) and the Water Use Permit (WUP).
Nkom further explained that: “Presently, 7018 valued titles are active. If I give you an overview of the entire statistics from inception, I think it will guide us by giving us a picture of what we are talking about because statistically, over 34,000 applications have been received from inception.”
He added that 15,483 applications were rejected, 4,997 revoked while 6,588 active titles are presently in existence.
“There is an increase in Mineral Title Application submission, increased revenue generation – N4,301 billion organizational growth – establishment, and operationalisation of MCO offices in the six geo-political zones of the country.
The MCO boss also noted: “We currently collaborating more closely with other departments and agencies of the Ministry (MID, MEC, ASM, NGSA etc) specifically Mines Inspectorate Department Job creation. A total of 38 staff were employed in the upgrade of the SIGTIM software to the web-base Online Mineral Title Administration and Management system – eMC+Activation and Integration of e-Recording and Archiving of Mineral Title documents.
In the light of this performance, players in the sector have, however, urged the federal government to do a rethink and concentrate on solid minerals to diversify the economy thereby increasing its revenue base as prices of oil dwindle daily.