The federal government is establishing a comprehensive electronic database for effective information management of mining activities in the country.
This is coming as a civil society group, Mining Licensing Transparency International, commends the Nigerian Mining Cadastral Office for instituting widespread reforms to sanitize the mining licensing processes in the country.
The group in a statement in Abuja on Saturday commended the Minister of Mines Development and the Management of the Cadastral Office for instituting reforms that have removed opacity and corruption from the licensing process.
According to the statement signed by the group’s Director, Akinbobola David, “We had reviewed activities of the Cadastral Office since last year and we can affirm that something positive is happening under the Management.
“The enforcement of transparency enhances removal of corrupt tendencies. The processes are devoid of underhand dealings and the Management has demonstrated readiness to sanction any official found wanting “, the statement posted.
While commending the Minister for supporting the Cadastral leadership, it appealed for more robust support for the office, noting that “sanitizing the sector and transforming it into the cash cow of the federation will require an initial investment to strengthen the regulatory structures.
” We noticed the recent opening of zonal offices. We equally read of the plan to digitize its operations. These are laudable reform processes that should be sustained”, the group stated.
At a virtual meeting organized by a Civil Society Organization, Global Rights Nigeria in Abuja, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite said the move would ensure that all information on natural assets were optimally harnessed to yield expected benefits that would address poverty and wealth creation.
Mr. Adegbite noted that while focusing on revenue generation for the nation, the ministry will not compromise the safety of the mine host community environment and social issues.
“The Ministry intends to organize the informal and small scale miners into legal economic businesses that would improve the livelihood of rural communities and wellbeing. Government is financing the country’s mineral exploration project to generate credible geoscience capable of encouraging investors into the mining sector”
“The Artisala miners would also be mainstreamed into the legal system for effective management. The Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee, MIREMCO, had been strengthened across the States, to touch light the activities of miners and address issues of compensation as well as community relation”.
Chairman Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Engr. Elias Mbam, stressed that the commission had been carrying out a series of programs to promote fiscal justice in the disbursement of revenues to States.
“The Commission, on a routine basis, generates indices revenue collection which forms the basis for paying the 13% derivation to the mineral producing states. To display Fiscal Justice in the payment of the 13% derivation, The Commission also on monthly basis, through the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), constantly engages with the Commissioners of Finance of all the States in the Federation”
Also, Speaking Director Mines and Environmental Compliance, Engr Sallim Salaam, listed some identified barriers to the effective transformation of the mines sector to include;
“Weak mechanisms for gathering and archiving critical geological data needed by investors, operators in the Sector also face a range of challenges from insufficient infrastructure to policy uncertainty that constrain investor confidence. The decline of the Sector resulted in reduced focus and leverage from key stakeholders, undue inference in legislations by states, multiple taxations, weak enforcement, and inadequate workforce.”
Earlier, the Country Director Global Rights Nigeria, Ms. Abiodun Baiyewu, emphasized that in every mining activity, the basic natural resources which are water and climate should be given maximum attention as it has a direct impact on the environmental and well being of the host communities.
The Stakeholders expressed optimism in the approved roadmap for the sector, as aided by the World Bank assistance, through MinDiver Project.