As part of its on-going process to formalize and integrate Artisanal and Small Scale gold mining activities into the Nation’s legal, economic and institutional framework, the Federal Government has launched the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) in Yauri Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
The Flag off of PAGMI Biometric Exercise commenced with the Registration and Enrollment of first batch of Artisanal Miners that would benefit from the PAGM initiative.
Speaking at the flag off event, the Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu who is also PAGMI Vice Chairman said President Muhammadu Buhari is intensifying efforts to build the capacity of the artisanal miners to enable them contribute positively, legally and safely to the economy of the country.
“The PAGM initiative is an Artisanal support program for miners of gold in Nigeria with Kebbi and Osun States serving as pilot States”.
PAGMI according to him is part of government efforts to support the Artisanal Miners across the nation and eliminate illegality so that the teeming youth who are interested in mining would be supported and do their business properly, legitimately and with maximum support from the Federal Government.
Speaking further, Bangudu urged the beneficiaries to make proper use of whatever assistance would come their ways.
In his keynote address, Minister of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Olamilekan Adegbite who was represented at the event by the Director, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM), Patrick Ojeka, stressed that the initiative, apart from empowering the artisanal and small scale miners, would encourage and promote Nigerian processing and value addition industries.
He said, “Through this initiative, we hope to solve the issue of disaggregation through establishment of cooperatives, improve productivity through capacity building and the use of advanced equipment to improve standard and quality of output.”
Adegbite said the Federal Government would establish buying centres with the CBN as off taker and also integrate middlemen into the system, which he believed would lead to higher profitability for artisanal miners.
He stated that the Federal Government is in the process of building centralized processing centres with capabilities to produce minerals and enhance beneficiation within the country, leading to reduction in taxes as incentives.
He however emphasized that the success of the initiative is largely dependent on continuous cooperation, cohesion, commitment and the will of the stakeholders and people involved.
“The sustainability of this project is what we plan to achieve and all measures have been accounted for and put in place to ensure smooth implementation”, he added.
The Minister said all hands are on deck to ensure that mining becomes a major developmental catalyst in line with economic diversification and wealth creation of the Federal Government.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of Solid Minerals Development Fund and the Secretary of PAGMI, Fatimah Umaru Shinkafi noted that the activities of the Artisanal Miners can no longer be ignored as they account for over 80percent of mining in Nigeria.
She assured stakeholders at the event that PAGMI would bring about benefits for financial inclusion, value addition as well as job creation.
“We also have social investment elements in it, and part of proceeds from the program will be ploughed back into the community for community development projects such as provisions of health care services, portable water and schools among others”, she further explained.
“Apart from gold, there are so many other minerals that are being exported out of the country illegally but we have started with gold, CBN will be off taker for that, this is pioneering, it has never happened before and we hope that we get the support of local community for this program”, she stressed. (BusinessDay)