Stakeholders in mining have called on the Federal Government to increase investment, give incentives, and assist the States to co-invest in the sector of the economy as part of effort to increase the sector’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
The stakeholders, who were participants at a one-day workshop in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, also stressed the need for FG and relevant stakeholders to take the implementation of the Mining Act 2007 and the current road map seriously as the both possess the potential of creating employment, increasing revenue and ensuring prosperity for all Nigerians.
The workshop was organised by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development and co-sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, with the theme, ‘Strengthening civic engagement and advocacy for effective natural resource governance in Nigeria.’
In attendance were government officials, traditional rulers, State House of Assembly members, civil society groups, members of mining communities and the media.
In a communiqué issued at end of the workshop, the participants commended FG for the launch of a road map by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in its current reform to develop the solid mineral sector.
They identified the non-implementation of the Mineral and Mining Act 2007 of Nigeria as responsible for the weak mechanism for gathering, disseminating and archiving critical geological data required by investors.
Participants also noted that policy makers were impeding the growth and development of the solid mineral sector in the country by not capturing the contributions of all stakeholders. They added that to achieve effective reform of the sector, government at both federal and state levels must collaborate with citizens in the broad development process.
In his remarks, the Commissioner of Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives in Ekiti State, Michael Ayodele, said the forum offered the opportunity of bottom-up approach in management decision making.
Ayodele noted that the result of the dialogue would bring peace between miners and host communities, saying that the seminar was designed to strengthen civic advocacy and engagement for effective natural resource governance in Nigeria.
In his welcome address, the Executive Director, Centre LSD, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, who was represented by the Programme Director, Mr. Monday Osasah, said it the programme was the first state level policy dialogue on the project ‘Strengthening civic advocacy and engagement for effective natural resource governance in Nigeria’ being implemented in Ebonyi, Ekiti and Taraba States.
Igbuzor noted that the FG had earmarked the sum of N300 billion intervention fund for the mining sector, stressing that there was a need to get better organised to assess the fund.
Participants also called on government to stimulate investment in the sector through public private partnership in domains where minerals were found and exploited in commercial quantity.
They recommended that monitoring of mining sites should be done regularly by relevant government agencies to ensure proper commissioning and decommissioning process, with already mined pits properly covered.
Earlier in his lecture, a university Don, Professor Dung Pam Sha of the Department of Political Science, University of Jos, called for partnership between the States and the Federal Government if the Ministry of Solid Minerals was to achieve its objectives in the next five to 10 years.
Prof. Pam Sha said it was imperative for government to block all leakages, by tackling corruption through full declaration and disclosure from miners both local and international, if it planned to succeed in creating wealth for the nation.
Meanwhile the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in a recorded interview relayed at the workshop, reiterated the commitment of the ministry to contributing immensely to the country’s GDP.
Fayemi, however, maintained that the ministry was ready to collaborate with villages and local governments to reach an agreement in order to benefit immensely from the dividends of solid minerals.