…as LCCI tasked government to be pragmatic
By Daniel Henry
The Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Bwari Abubakar, said the ministry is committed to resuscitating the Mining sector for economic growth and development.
Speaking yesterday at the first Business Summit put together by Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, (AMEN) in collaboration with Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the Minister who was represented by the senior Technical Assistant, Davids Olapada, said Mining is Nigeria’s next frontier of opportunity aside crude oil which the ministry is striving to transform vigorously.
….effort is on to attract more investors
According to him, “some efforts made so far to attract more investors are; upgrading and automation of the Nigerian Mining Cadaster office for online applications, development of new Mineral Export Guideline to ensure accurate data on solid minerals which reduces time spent in processing Mineral Export Permit from Two weeks to Two days,”
…….establishment of Market Place App to tracks illegal operators
“Others are, establishment of Market Place App where the ministry tracks illegal operators, mineral support Centres, awarding of $50 million contract as part of the ministry’s Integrated Exploration Programme to Five exploration companies for the exploration of gold, Lead, Zink and working with CBN in creating the Gold economy, etc.
He further said that mining industry is now completely private sector driven while government acts as the regulator. “investors can own 100% of their mining business and get a 5 years Tax Holidays and can also bring in mining equipment on duty free, as well be sure of free transferability of funds.” he added.
……Ministry of Mines and Steel Development Work the talk
Meanwhile, the president, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Ruwase, charged the Ministry to ‘Work the Talk’, saying that it’s not enough to make statements which does not hold waters.
“Statements are not enough, we need to see actions, create the conducive environment for local and foreign technocrats to harness the potentialities of Mining and steel sector, and this advocacy must continue till we get the best from this sector,”
Ruwase further called on government to address security challenges, Mutil- government agencies, weak fiscal framework and illegal mining amongst others to restore investors’ confidence.
……Ministry policies creates bottlenecks and not helping investors
On his part, the chairman, Solid Mineral and Mining Group, LCCI, Otunba Babatunde, said instead of designing policies that only creates bottlenecks, it’s better to create a Nigerian Mineral Exchange; a visual and physical platform where trading can take place, adding that banks can open a portal and see the local price of solid Mineral resources as well as MAN.
“Policies are not helping matters, we need aggregate platform where businesses can use for transactions, where banks can use as a reference point, the media can also use. So enabling business environment where businesses will thrive without complications is what we need, we are tired of spending money on demurrage and logistics.” he added.
Panelists called on the ministry to rectify multiple controls and Land ownership issues that crop up when mining companies operates in some states with solid minerals endowment.
According to them, “this is evident following the shutdown of Mining companies by security agencies without cogent reasons, these interruption and embarrassment repels investors, we suggest a streamlined window desk for relevant ministries, policies and laws should be also be amended to clearly defined what is due to federal and state governments to avoid conflict of interests.” they maintained.