Moves to establish solid minerals buying centres
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Miners under the auspices of Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, Wednesday, cried out over unaccessible N5 billion fund with the Bank of Industry, BoI, after five years.
Speaking with Vanguard about the plight of miners in the country, the acting National President, MAN, Musa Muhammad, said some of their members who even applied have died without receiving the money.
Muhammad said: “The fund is under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development who handed it to the Bank of Industry, BoI, to manage it for us.
“As Miners Association of Nigeria, we are yet to assess that money.
“None of our members including me have assessed the fund. While I was Vice President of MAN, my company applied and up till now no Kobo has be given me.
“Even the late President of MAN, Kabir Kankara, applied and didn’t get any money before he died.
“It was only one member who was given less than N100 million, which a bulldozer costs over N100 million. Is it the way to diversify the economy?”
Several times MAN has called on the Federal Government to release the lingering N5 billion mining fund to cushion effects by the ravaging coronavirus, COVID-19, on the mining sector.
However, he (Muhammad) disclosed that the association is strategizing by creating solid minerals buying centers in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“We know the government is speaking on solid minerals buying centres but we want to take the bull by the horn”, he said.
He said the association has started approaching the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and relevant departs on accessing necessary information to facilitate establishment of the centres.
According to him, the mineral buying centres will bring about beneficiation of solid minerals, which will stop export of raw solid minerals, and it will benefit registered miners of the association whether they are artisanal and small scale miners as they would make good money from their commodities.
“The centres would be located in the six geopolitical zones, which will be used to monitor illegal miners and those who have failed to register as members.
“The centres will be equipped with state of the art facilities, where finished products would be exported to the world, and will be centres to create jobs for Nigerians, more investors would come into the sector, and will increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and more revenue would be generated for the government as well”, he stated.
Meanwhile, he made it known that MAN is already collaborating with both local and international companies for the project to be a dream come through.
Meanwhile, the miners’ boss disclosed that, “We are hoping in August or September before the Mining Week, we will be able to sign contracts with these collaborators for partnerships. So this PPP model has to be used, introduced to solid minerals sector, if you really want to diversify the economy.”