Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to establish a specialised bank to take care of the solid minerals industry.
According to the President of the association, Sani Shehu, the solid minerals development bank should be similar to Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture with the sole purpose of providing for the needs of the sector.
He said this would be a logical continuation of the unprecedented development in the sector in the last few years.
Shehu listed some of these as the reform initiated by the Federal Government supported by the World Bank, which enabled the promulgation of rules and regulations guiding the mining industry and the mining cadastre office that ensured an orderly and transparent process of issuing licences.
“However,” he said, “after a needs analysis of the sector and the apparent futility of all attempts to stimulate the interest of commercial banks and other financial institutions, the Miners Association of Nigeria has come to the conclusion that the only solution to bail out the mining sector is the establishment of a solid mineral development bank whose primary focus is the solid mineral sector, just like the case of Agric bank and Bank of Industry.”
He added: “It should be a specialised outfit that should identify the peculiarities in the sector such as long gestation period in mining and tailor a product suitable for such peculiarities. By so doing, the solid minerals sector will be repositioned to diversify the economy, offer employment, eradicate poverty and provide raw material to our industries in order to achieve import substitution.”
According to him, this would certainly relieve the government of the intense financial pressure as a result of over-dependence on oil as a major source of revenue.