Home Business Enugu State chamber renews call for devolution of economic power

Enugu State chamber renews call for devolution of economic power


Abuja – The Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) has renewed its call on the Federal Government to devolve the control of mineral resources to the states.

Mr Emeka Okereke, the Director-General of the chamber, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the call became necessary in view of current economic realities.

Okereke stated that the concentration of economic power at the centre was inimical to national development, saying it would undermine the Federal Government’s economic diversification agenda.

He said the current economic challenge facing the nation had made it inevitable for states to exploit alternative sources of revenue, especially in the solid mineral sector.

“We have called on government in the past, and we are still reiterating the calls that if they want Nigeria to radically change for good, we need to devolve economic power.

“We need to restructure the country and give the states control over their solid mineral resources to cut them from the apron strings of the Federal Government.

“Nigeria will still remain but the structure of our collaboration needs to be looked at again for peace, stability and more visible progress,’’ he said.

Okereke said allowing states to exploit their mineral resources would engender healthy competition among them and ultimately boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This, he added, would change the prevailing situation where states looked up to the centre without being innovative and creative about how to grow their economies.

The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi, reportedly said recently that states were encouraged to set up their own investment corporations in the mining sector.

Fayemi was quoted as also saying that states could also “go into partnership with the private sector in order to exploit what is available to them’’ in their domains.

The minister, however, said that this must be done within the law.

NAN reports that the 1999 Constitution as amended exclusively vests the control of mines and minerals, including oil fields and mining, geological surveys and natural gas in the Federal Government.

The ECCIMA DG said: “Under the present arrangement, host states still hold the authority over the issue of land, where the Federal Government drives the policy and issues licenses.

“We are of the opinion that the Federal Government needs to empower the states in the issuance of licences, identifying investors and monitoring of the mining environment.

“Now we are talking about solid mineral; we can’t move forward without planning about how we can ensure that our environment is protected.

“The states, being more nearer to the people, should be able to monitor the activities of miners in their areas.’’ (NAN)

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