Federal, states and local governments are losing about N50 trillion annually from untapped resources that abound in the nation’s soil. Nigeria is estimated to be losing about N8 trillion annually from untapped gold. The estimates are monies that should have accrued to the federation account from royalties, taxes, charges and other fees from companies and individuals operating in the solid mineral sector if the Federal Government had paid enough attention to the development of solid minerals in the country.
Going by this, Nigeria should not have had any financial crisis any time crude oil prices face southward. In fact, states in the country would have been well off financially and would not have been talking about bail out.
However, the Mining and Mineral Act of 2007 which puts the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources in the exclusive list has hindered state from developing mineral deposit in their jurisdiction. Nigerians put the blame at the feet of federal politicians that have paid lip service to fiscal federalism.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, audit report of 2012 suggests that there are about 40 different kinds of solid minerals and precious metals buried in Nigeria soil waiting to be exploited. The commercial value of Nigeria’s solid minerals has been estimated to run into hundreds of trillions of dollars, with 70 per cent of these buried in the bowel of Northern Nigeria.