Nov 23, 2020

Miners to Ogun govt: give us support

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Miners in Ogun State have urged the Ogun State government to give them support to excel. They urged the government to end alleged extortion, harassment and imposition of illegal multiple taxation on their members.
It called for a roundtable discussion with the Ogun State government to iron out the grey areas.

“We urge the State Government to see the Miners Association of Nigeria as partners, not enemies, and provide us with the necessary support to contribute our quota in developing the State, as no nation develops without developing its Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) which are the drivers of the economy,” the association said.

The State Chairman of the Miners’ Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter, Mr. Olusola Aikulola, who addressed a news conference in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Sunday in company with other members of the association, argued that after getting clearance and permit from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, permits them to pay royalty to the Federal Government every month, it is illegal for the Ogun State Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment to impose and enforce the collection of another regime of taxes from miners in the state.

Aikulola said that the charges by the Ogun State Government tagged ‘Land Use and Amenities Charges’ with ‘Registration Fees,’ only amounted to an illegality and extortion of miners in the state.

He said: “The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly places mining under the Exclusive List of legislation, that is, mining is strictly under the regulation and supervision of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Federal Government in a bid to protect the Constitution, and also insulate the mining industry from experiencing any form of difficulty in business, abolished all forms of levies to any other tier of Government other than the Federal Government. This was so communicated via a circular from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development referenced MMSD/MID/DMI/001/V/518 dated September 4, 2018.

“This policy of the Federal Government was reiterated in a recent Federal Executive Council meeting following a position paper presented to Council by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. The position paper came on the heels of the need to address the challenges in the mining sector which have militated against the full harnessing of the potentials in the sector.

“In spite of the well-recognised principle of law which is known and binding on the Ogun State Government to the effect that mining and ancillary activities are under the exclusive list of legislation, which implies that only the Federal Government possesses the competence to make laws for the regulation of the industry, the Ogun State Government is insisting on receiving levies ranging from Fifty Thousand Naira (N50,000) to Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N250,000) in the name of royalties and registration fees from our members. For the avoidance of doubt, royalties, sundry charges, and levies payable to the Federal Government constitute part of what is pooled into revenue for the federation which is received by several State Governments, including Ogun State as monthly allocation.

“The affected sites were Obanibasiri Sand Sellers Association and Afolorun Afeniyan Sand Sellers Association. These drivers were detained at the Ministry of Works Adigbe/Agbeloba, Abeokuta under the pretext of the existence of a Police post within the premises, with a Police flag hurriedly hoisted, and later removed after officials of the Miners Association of Nigeria had bailed the detained drivers by paying large sums of money.”
Aikulola said the government has encouraged the formation of parallel bodies against their members.

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