Ademola Adegbite – Abuja
IN view of the critical roles of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Customs and Immigration Services in Mineral exports, as well as other key linkage ministries and agencies, they should be included in all policy formulation and strategies towards attainment of seamless processing of mineral export.
This was the position of the stakeholders at the just concluded Maiden Edition of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD), tagged “Enhancing Mineral Resources Governance Towards Economic Growth and Diversification” held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.
Arising from a three-day conference, the stakeholders said curbing of illegal mining activities should be pursued continuously and existing framework to curb minerals smuggling should be activated by relevant agencies.
They urged the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment, strengthen enforcement and promote security in the mine fields.
In a communiqué originated from the office of the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olayinka Oyebode, a copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, on Sunday, the stakeholders further said the government should encourage indigenous participation in the mining sector.
According to them, adequate capacity building, funding and logistics support should be provided for the appropriate technical departments of the ministry to ensure effective monitoring and enforcement in the mines fields.
They also decided to establish a forum of Commissioners responsible for Mineral Resources Development with a view to constant feedback engagement with the Federal Government and to monitor progress on areas that have been agreed at this inaugural Council.
“Effort should be made to acknowledge the issues of Human Rights in the policy framework and protect the citizens right to clean and sustainable environment;
“All mining activities should be operated under the minimum Health and Safety Standards as stipulated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“There should be synergy among Federal, State Governments and Local Government Areas through the instrumentality of Minerals Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) as provided for by Section 19 of Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, the committee should be strengthened where it already exists and those dormant in every State should be reactivated.
“There should be synergy between the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), and the State Governments to improve operational collaboration and enhance communication for effective execution of the Roadmap for the growth and development of the mining industry.
“Concrete effort should be made by the MMSD, the Federal Ministry of Environment and State Ministries of Environment on issuance of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports,” they added.
The stakeholders also stressed for clear distinction between the different categories of mining operations with respect to their environmental and Corporate Social Responsibilities.
“The on-going formalization of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Groups into Cooperatives should be maintained and continuously invigorated; existing audit and control mechanisms for monitoring of mineral exports to curb under-declaration of mineral exports should be strengthened.
“The repatriation of proceeds, royalties and taxes accruing from exported minerals through the appropriate government procedures and channels should be vigorously pursued.
“Current effort at bringing Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd and Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria should be invigorated and every effort should be made by government to revive moribund Steel plants and promote private sector participation in steel development,” the stakeholders stated.
The stakeholders, therefore, expressed their deep gratitude and appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo, for the pioneering support and commitment to the sector, saying without their support, the conference would not have been possible.
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