By Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, has assured the government and people of Niger State of the ministry’s plan to ensure the state takes full advantage of the range of opportunities now available for states to develop their huge solid mineral potentials.
Bwari, who welcomed officials from the state Ministry of Solid Minerals led by the commissioner Mudi Mohammed to his office, noted that with the enormous resources of the state in gold, talc, tantalite, gemstones and precious metals, it could easily become one of the richest states in the federation with the right handling.
A statement by the minister’s Special Assistant Olu JacobsÂ TuesdayÂ in Abuja, listed ways in which the state could earn more money to include the use of a special purpose vehicle for mining business, entering into partnership with foreign concerns, taxes from mining, and 13 per cent derivation which swells the purse of states in proportion to the amount of legal mining business conducted in the preceding year.
Bawa noted that the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has opened up the sector tremendously and miners can now access funds not just from the N5 billion Artesanal and Small Scale Support Fund (BoI), the Min Diver (World Bank) Fund, the N30 billion Intervention Fund and other potential lines of credit that the private sector is beginning to extend to miners.
According to the minister, “States that have organised their artesanal miners and registered them into co-operatives can more easily benefit from these funding which are meant to discourage illegal mining activities, provide registered miners with opportunity for equipment leasing, safer mining practices and entering into MoU with foreign investors.”