The Minister of Solid Minerals Development Dr Kayode Fayemi disclosed that States are not prohibited from engaging in joint venture in the development of solid minerals in the country. He said there is need for the Federal government to partner with the states to achieve greater efficiency in the sector, adding that the law provides for community involvement in the sector.
The Minister made the statement while meeting with officials of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) who paid him a courtesy call.
Dr. Fayemi said the FG is willing to work with states, mining communities, foreign investors, financial institutions, World Bank among others to turn around the solid minerals sector for wealth and job creation for national development.
He noted that government was aware of the various challenges facing the sector and the Ministry is strategizing on how to turn the abundant opportunities in the sector into wealth for the country.
He called on members of MAN to support and collaborate with the government to achieve desired goals.
The President of MAN, Alhaji Shehu Sani while presenting a position paper of the Executive Council of MAN said the association is ready to contribute their quota in the development of the sector in Nigeria.
Alhaji Sani enumerated the challenges facing the sector to include among others lack of insufficient funding, inadequate geological bankable data, unskilled labour, multiple taxation and hostilities of mining communities, inadequate infrastructure and artisanal operations which contributes to 90% of mining operations.
He expressed the concerns of the Association that the sector contributes less than 1% to the GDP of Nigeria despite the abundance of solid mineral deposit in the country. The Association is also dissatisfied over activities of informal operators whose activities are not properly captured in the nation’s economic indices hence leading to the loss of huge revenue to the government.
The Association proposed some solution to the challenges facing the sector such as provision of adequate funding for the Solid Minerals Development Fund, improvement in geological and bankable data, human capacity development, decentralisation of mining cadastral office and development of necessary infrastructure, among others.
Iliya Rhoda Ishaku
For: Deputy Director (Press)