By Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The Senate has called on the federal government to partner with states, local governments and the private sector in infrastructure development to promote private investments in Nigeria.
It also advocated tax holidays for investors in the solid minerals sector while it urged the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to formalize the operations of illegal miners so as to generate revenue through tax collection.
The Senate further advised the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate with relevant agencies to push for tax holidays and zero tariffs for import on agricultural and agro-processing equipment.
These formed part of the resolutions reached by the Senate on Thursday sequel to the consideration of a motion on “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 Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central) and co-sponsored by 59 other senators.
According to Amosun, available statistics show that the contribution of crude petroleum and natural gas to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined from 14.95 percent in 2011 to 9.61 percent in 2015 while the agricultural sector contributed 23.35 and 23.11 percent, respectively, to the GDP during the periods.
The lawmaker, who noted that Nigeria was endowed with a wide variety of solid minerals in almost all states of the federation, said the solid mineral sector ranked second only to the agricultural sector as a source of export earnings for the country.
Amosun said, “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 economy.”
He identified some of the Federal Government’s policies such as the Anchors Borrowers Programme, the Livestock Transformational Plan, Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, and the Solid Mineral Development Strategy.
Amosun added that the laudable policy initiatives by the Federal Government to reposition the Agricultural and Solid Minerals sectors would not only diversify the Nigerian economy, but also lift one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.