Solid minerals: Buhari orders ramping up of operations
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, PAGMI, to provide a six-month progress report on the Solid Minerals Development Fund, designed to capture investment build-ups.
The president, who delivered the position at a PAGMI Steering Committee and Management Team briefing in the House of Representatives, Abuja, on Wednesday, said such a report would further ensure probity and best practices in the mining sector.
He tasked the team with expanding operations in the mining sector ensuring investments beyond the artisanal and small-scale levels.
He said that “the PAGMI management team should now develop innovative ways to move to the next level to ensure that the Nigerian mining story goes beyond artisanal and small-scale mining.
“I support the Steering Committee’s goal of adding 3-5 tons of gold over the next 12 months, as this will generate huge fiscal and economic benefits for the nation.
“The Solid Minerals Development Fund should work with relevant government agencies to identify the support and funding necessary to meet this aggregation objective.
“Now that you have successfully delivered a pilot plan in the state of Kebbi, it is time to implement and expand it sustainably in other states. The government is committed to providing all the necessary support. “
Mr. Buhari also urged PAGMI to ensure that the Solid Minerals Development Fund expedites the delivery of other directives to support the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative.
The president said interested parties should finalize the ongoing assignment recommending that a portion of the accumulations be dedicated to the Solid Minerals Development Fund.
“Dedicating a portion of the accruals to creating a sustainable income stream for the Solid Minerals Development Fund is essential to fulfilling the mandates assigned to the Fund.
“The development of a sustainable funding stream for the Fund will conclude the implementation of the Fund Establishment Law, which is a key focus area for this administration.
“This initiative is a great pride for me because through our intervention, we can reach Nigerian workers in the fields, working hard and in the quarries in the sun trying to earn an honest living.
“We have been able to protect them from the clutches of those who exploit their hard work, while at the same time bringing them into the value chain to get better income from their hard work.
“I look forward to a six-month progress report that clearly shows significant progress in expanding the program from its current pilot stage.”
He commended the PAGMI Steering Committee and Management Team under the leadership of Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari as President and Governor Atiku Bagudu de Kebbi as Vice President “for doing a good job”.
The president said that the Responsible Mining Framework that was unveiled will result in an efficient and transparent gold supply chain and demonstrate efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, human rights abuses and respect for gold. environment.
“I am particularly satisfied with the coordination and integration aspects of the document.
“I want to congratulate the Governor of the Central Bank for his support of the Solid Minerals Development Fund in delivering PAGMI, particularly in the commitment to pay a fair price to support artisanal miners and provide a market for PAGMI.
“The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning is also to be commended for her support to increase the capitalization of PAGMI through the line already approved,” he said.
In his comments, Dr. Uche Ogar, Minister of Development of Mines and Steel, who led the delegation, said that PAGMI had created the opportunity for the formalization and integration of artisanal miners, providing them the economic opportunity to live.
He said this was achieved after the validation of the president’s initiative “to address structural and institutional factors such as rural poverty and lack of alternative livelihoods, and the difficulty in complying with legal and regulatory requirements that tend to push artisanal gold mining operators deeper into the informal economy. ”
He said that between 2012 and 2018, $ 5 billion worth of gold was smuggled out of Nigeria.
Hajiya Fatima Shinkafi, Executive Secretary / Executive Director of the Solid Minerals Development Fund, during her briefing, requested the President to, among others, increase the capitalization of the fund to extend it to other states requesting their intervention, which would allow the committee to meet. with its target of 5 tons.
He also advocated for CBN intervention to minimize losses to artisanal miners as a result of currency spreads; declare a ban on artisanal gold export for at least one year to give PAGMI the opportunity to checkmate contraband and grant a temporary exemption on royalties currently set at around three percent.
Shinkafi also requested support for financing specific explorations to catalyze private sector investment and transform PAGMI into a large-scale operator to sustain the initiative.
He added that the Responsible Mining Framework presented by the Steering Committee, developed in conjunction with other stakeholders such as NEITI, EFCC and the Nigerian Customs Service, had met the international standard.
According to her, the document is believed to eliminate criminality, lead poisoning, child labor, sabotage in the economy and the financing of terrorism.
In 2020, the Committee presented to the President the first artisanal gold mined and obtained in Nigeria.