The Miners Association of Nigeria has decried the lack of adequate funding in the mining sector, stating that the Federal Government has failed to effectively implement over N11.2bn intervention funds for the mining sector.
The Acting National President of MAN, Musa Muhammad, said this in Abuja on Wednesday at a press briefing.
In his speech, he said, “the Federal Government through the CBN, NEXIM bank, BOI and other financial institutions in Nigeria have announced one intervention or the other for the Nigerian mining sector in the last decade without trace of implementation.”
He went on to mention three established funds, which included N5bn BOI intervention fund for artisanal and small-scale miners, N6bn post-COVID-19 intervention fund, and N200m small-scale miners fund.
The acting National MAN President said that this lack of intervention fund was adversely affecting artisanal and small-scale miners who managed 90 per cent of mining activities in Nigeria.
Muhammad urged the Federal Government to accord the solid minerals sector similar attention and funding models similar to those in the agricultural sector.
The miners also called for the establishment of the Solid Mineral Development Bank, which would attend to the needs of miners and ensure that they have access to the funds required for the development of the sector.
According to the miners, this bank could give loans to miners at a two per cent digit rate, as mining operations were capital-intensive.
There was also a call by the miners for a review of the 100 per cent mining asset ownership policy accorded to foreign nationals to curtail insecurity in the country. Muhammad said it was crucial for the Federal Government to review the policy as it had given foreigners indiscriminate access to mining locations across the country.
He also said that major challenges facing the sector included a lack of enforcement capacities in terms of human, logistics and infrastructure.
He added that the lack of growth in the sector and the presence of all forms of illegality and criminality could be traced to poor regulatory enforcement capacity and extension service workers as provided in Section 91 of the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act 2007.