The Federal Government’s resolve to end illegal mining will restore sanity into the industry, as well as help contribute its quota to national development, the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) President, Sani Shehu, has said.
He said the development would help the operators to maximise their potential and further compete with their colleagues in other climes, adding that people are afraid of investing in the sector because they are not sure of getting returns on their investments.
He said the decision by the government to clampdown on erring operators in the solid minerals sector is timely in view of the efforts by the government to diversify the economy from oil.
At a stakeholder’s forum in Lagos, Shehu said the idea would rejuvenate the sector and make it more focused. The forum was organised at the instance of the Ministry of Solid Minerals.
He said: “We are going to see more clampdowns on illegal mining activities by the Federal Government this year, following their arrest and prosecution of local and foreign illegal miners last year. The action is in line with the Mining and Minerals Act. We want the government to also apply the carrot and then the stick approach as being taught in management studies.”
He said the government has provided interventions for the artisans and other small operators, advising the government to arrest illegal miners and other operators, who fail to comply with its directives in the area of using funds that was given to them well.
“Those illegal miners who don’t want to accept these interventions should be arrested if they don’t want to key into government‘s intervention programmes. Now that government has made all these provisions they should take advantage of them,” he added.
On the sector’s prospects, he said the country has all it takes to be one of the leading mining destinations in the world based on its abundant mineral resources.
According to him, the mining is an emerging business destination in Africa as evident by the recognition given to it internationally, urging investors to make use of the opportunities in the sector.
He urged the government to make more funds available for the Ministry of Solid Minerals, stressing that the idea would enable it perform its statutory responsibilities for the growth of the sector.
He said the fight against illegal mining would succeed, once there is enough money for the ministry. He said the government released 40 per cent budgetary allocations to the sector in 2016 and last year, advising the government to improve on it allocation, now that the economy has come out of the recession.
He urged the government to provide more funds for the sector, especially as it has generated more revenue from the customs and agencies in recent times.
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