By Naomi Sharang
Abuja, June 22, 2021 A bill for an act to establish Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission has passed second reading at the Senate.
The passage followed the presentation of the lead debate by the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Yakubu Oseni (APC-Kogi) during plenary on Tuesday.
The bill is titled: “A Bill for an Act to establish the solid minerals producing areas development commission in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to address environmental devastation and for other connected matters thereto, 2021”.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Oseni said it was read for the first time at the hallowed chamber on May 5.
He said the country was endowed with solid minerals of various categories, ranging from precious metals to precious stones and industrial minerals.
“The Nigerian Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) reported that there are approximately 40 different kinds of solid minerals and precious metals buried in Nigerian soil waiting to be exploited.
“The sector offers a viable alternative to petroleum for foreign exchange earnings.
“Globally, the mining industry has been a close rival to the petroleum industry, while Nigeria only earns a paltry 89 million dollars per annum from it,” he said.
He said the objective of the bill included formulation of policies and guidelines for the development of the mineral producing areas.
The debate on the bill was seconded by senators Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi) and Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue).
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan thereafter, referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals for further legislative action