Sourced from Punch Nigeria 1 year ago
About two months ago, the state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, disclosed that the state had no money to finance infrastructure and his administration had to prioritise payment of salaries and pensions. Sadly, the latter has not even been paid up to date. Yet, migrants are stealing the state’s treasure that, ordinarily, should potentially turn its fortune around.
Globally, gold is a treasured, high-priced mineral. In the international market, an ounce of gold, as of Thursday, was about $1,806. According to the 2016 Mining Growth Roadmap by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Nigeria has an untapped 200 million ounces of gold, scattered across about 13 states, Osun inclusive. The Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, affirmed this figure at a forum in June 2020.
Thus, gold alone could fetch Nigeria trillions in dollars, even when the cost of production is deducted.
But for years, government abandoned it and other solid minerals, making it an all-comers affair for illegal and artisanal miners who remit almost nothing to it, while the country battles incredibly low revenue, compelling it to unashamedly borrow nonstop, to the tune of N35tn at the moment with plans to borrow even more –about N6.2tn in 2o22 to finance the budget.
The International Monetary Fund, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Chairman of Economic Advisory Council, Dr Doyin Salami, stressed at various times that Nigeria was facing revenue problems. Beyond the revenue loss, illegal mining has caused severe environmental degradation; farmers have been abruptly sent packing from their farms; their water, like the Osun River, polluted, and life made difficult for the dwellers.#Energy #IllegalMining