Fed Govt votes N6b to develop mineral processing clusters, says Osinbajo

Fed Govt votes N6b to develop mineral processing clusters, says Osinbajo


By Grace Obike, Abuja

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said the Federal Government had approved N6 billion for the development of Mineral Processing Clusters in the six geopolitical zones.

He said the approval would promote large-scale investment in mineral exploitation as part of the post-COVID efforts to preserve existing jobs and create new opportunities.

The Vice-President noted that the Federal Government, states and local governments needed to jointly develop working arrangements to make mining attractive to investors.

Prof. Osinbajo spoke on Sunday at a webinar on the maiden edition of the strategic engagement on sustainable mining, titled: Resurrecting Our Buried Prosperity.

He said: “It is clear that unless we get the management of our solid mineral resources right, we would continue living in the terrible paradox of suffering in the midst of plenty. The problems are numerous but solvable. The principal issue is that of the challenges of implementing the regulatory framework.

“While the Ministry of Mines and Steel has the legislative mandate to regulate mining in the country, many states and local governments have embarked on the imposition of their own rules and regulations on miners in their states, including issuance of registration, permits, Community Development Agreements (CDA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on miners.

“Some state governments, in a bid to shore up their revenues, impose illegal fees, taxes, and levies on foreign and local licensed mining companies and operators.

“Recently also, as part of the post-COVID efforts to preserve existing jobs and create new opportunities, N6 billion was approved for the Mining Sector under the current Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) for the development of Mineral Processing Clusters (MPC) across the six geo-political zones of the country to promote large-scale investment in mineral exploitation. It is gratifying that the ministry has recorded considerable progress in these Mining Process Clusters.

“I must also urge all officers of the ministry to rededicate themselves to the realisation of the set target of a six per cent contribution of the Mining sector to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.

“The communities where mines are located must also have some direct benefits, aside from jobs for their residents. We must find a formula for compensating the communities for environmental degradation and erosion.

“The Federal Government, states and local governments have to jointly develop working arrangements to ensure that mining is attractive to investors, profitable for states and local governments, not just from proceeds but also from personal income tax paid to states by mine workers and staff of mining companies.

“And on security in mining areas, as part of broad efforts to re-engineer the national security architecture to more efficiently confront our challenges, the President recently approved a raft of measures aimed at ensuring the security of mining concerns and mining sites.

“These measures, which will be driven by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in concert with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, will be hugely significant in creating an enabling environment for the growth of the sector.”

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, who was a guest speaker at the occasion, said: “As we all know, all mining is local. Local inhabitants of communities at the grassroots should, therefore, always be the first to benefit from mining activities in their domains, including the generation of employment opportunities, the reduction of poverty, and the promotion of rural economies.

“In keeping with the provisions of the roadmap, we must continue to ensure grassroots stakeholders are well positioned to benefit optimally from mining activities going on in their respective communities.

“We must find ways around the current constitutional limitations and legacy challenges in the industry to ensure grassroots stakeholders are positioned to participate meaningfully in the industry.”

Source: Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics

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