President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, presiding over the plenary in the upper chamber on Thursday, 3rd October, 2019.
Senate President Media Office

The Senate on Thursday urged the Federal Government grant tax holidays to investors in the solid minerals sector to enhance investment.

It equally called on the executive to partner with states, local governments and the private sector in infrastructure development to promote private investments in the country.

It further urged the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to formalise the operations of illegal miners is parts of the country so as to generate additional revenue through taxes.

It also sought zero tariffs for importation of agricultural and agro-processing equipment.

These resolutions followed a debate on motion titled: “The need for continuous implementation of policy reforms for the diversification of the Nigerian economy through the Agricultural and Solid Minerals Sectors.”

The motion was sponsored by Sen Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central) and 59 other senators.

Amosun, in his lead debate noted that available statistics show that the contribution of crude oil and natural gas to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined from 14.95 per cent in 2011 to 9.61 per cent in 2015.

He said however agriculture contributed 23.35 and 23.11 per cent, respectively, to the GDP during the same period.

He insisted that the country was endowed with a wide variety of solid minerals in almost all states of the federation.

He said also that the solid mineral sector ranked second only to the agricultural sector as a source of foreign exchange earner for the country.

Amosun added: “Further aware that in the last four years of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari the government has introduced a number of broad and sectoral policies intended to harness Nigeria’s Agricultural and solid minerals potentials in a bid to diversify the Nigerian economy from a mono-economy largely dominated by crude oil to other viable sectors;

“Acquainted with the fact that some of these policies include the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Livestock Transformation Plan, Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat production, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative and the adoption of a Solid Mineral Development Strategy to achieve enhanced growth through exploitation of assessed abundant solid mineral resources in the country.

“Convinced that the laudable policy initiatives by the Federal Government to reposition the Agricultural and solid mineral sectors to contribute to sustainable development of the Nigerian economy needs to be ramped up and taken advantage of for optimal utilisation for the diversification of the economy; and

“Convinced further that the Agricultural and solid minerals sectors holds the secret to the current efforts by the Federal Government to diversify the Nigerian economy and also lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.”

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