MAINTAIN EXISTING POLICIES, MINERS TELL NEW MINISTER

By NBF NEWS
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The Miners Association of Nigeria has asked the new Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Mohammed Sada, to maintain the policies that are currently guiding the operations of the sector.

The President of the association, Dr. Kola Ojo, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone on Wednesday, said a continuation of the existing policies would ensure that the progress so far made by the sector in the recent past would be sustained.

Ojo said the miners association had scheduled a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Sheikh Goni, and also planned to meet with the new minister to lend their support and seek his collaboration in moving the sector forward.

He commended the management of the $120m World Bank credit in the mining sector being administered under the Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project.

According to Ojo, the $10m, which is being disbursed to artisanal miners who formed themselves into cooperative societies and mining communities is yielding fruit.

Ojo further charged the new minister to ensure that the additional $80m, which the World Bank had recently agreed to grant Nigeria for disbursement to medium scale miners, would be managed efficiently.

The $80m will provide some sort of grants, loans and guarantees for medium scale miners.

On the modalities for managing the $80m credit, the MAN President said that the fund should still be managed by the Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project and requested government to set friendly conditions, which miners who would benefit from the credit would have to meet.

Ojo argued against the involvement of commercial banks in the management of the credit, stressing that they could insist on miners providing impossible collaterals and conditions before they could access the credit.

On the process of awarding and revitalising mining titles, Ojo asked the new minister to ensure that the Mining Cadastre Office was strengthened with the right caliber of workers.