Miners seek inclusion in N220b CBN’s SMEs fund

The Miners Association of Nigeria yesterday called on the Federal Government to capture the Artsinal and Small Scale Miners (ASMs) as part of the beneficiaries of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) intervention fund for the Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs).
Its President, Alhaji Sani Shehu, who spoke with The Nation on the economic implications of the declining oil prices, urged the government to “use oil money to develop other options such as the solid minerals”.
He urged the government to fund the Solid Minerals Development Fund to perform its statutory functions effectively.
The group said the government should strengthen the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development with a review of its yearly budget.
Shehu regretted that “every year, the budget is being reduced. The ministry should be strengthened to face the impact of falling oil prices”.
The miners chief urged the government to draw a work plan for the provision of infrastructure that connects minefields with railway facility for easy haulage linkage with the mines, sea ports and industrial areas.
He said for the government to demonstrate its seriousness about the development of the mineral sector, the presidency should capture it in its Transformation Agenda as it is in the case of agriculture, textile, automobile, and entertainment industries.
According to him, whenever a government promotes a sector, the sector becomes better.
Shehu asked government to encourage financial institutions and development banks to lend to miners at single digit interest rate, stressing that it should also continue the gathering of geological data to include reserve estimate in the mines sector.
He said:“Following the volatility in the prices of oil, government should draw strategies for the promotion of the development of solid minerals because it has the potential to create massive jobs for Nigerians and provide huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”
Shehu requested the government to encourage foreign investors and partners to enhance transfer of technology and FDI into the mining sector.
He urged the government to take diversification of the economy from oil to mining serious, noting that the United States (U.S) that was the prime importer of Nigerian crude was last week about the largest producer of the shale oil.

The Nation

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