Provide Six-month Progress Report On Solid Minerals Development Fund, Buhari Tells PAGMI

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Fulfil Your Promise, Inaugurate NDDC Board - Niger Delta Group Urges Buhari
Fulfil Your Promise, Inaugurate NDDC Board - Niger Delta Group Urges Buhari

On Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) requested that the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative submit a six-month status report on the Solid Minerals Development Fund, which is intended to capture accruals from investments.

The responsibility, according to Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, is to further assure probity and best practice in the mining industry.

According to Adesina, Buhari issued the charge at a State House briefing for the PAGMI Steering Committee and Management Team, during which he asked the team to expand operations in the mining industry by ensuring that investments reach beyond artisanal and small-scale levels.

He quoted Buhari as saying, “The PAGMI Management Team should now develop innovative ways to move PAGMI to the next level to ensure the Nigerian mining story goes beyond artisanal and small-scale mining.

“I support the Steering Committee’s target of aggregating 3-5 tons of gold over the next 12 months, as this will deliver tremendous fiscal and economic benefits to the nation. The Solid Minerals Development Fund should work with all relevant Government agencies to identify the support and funding needed to deliver on this aggregation target.

“Now that you have successfully delivered a pilot scheme in Kebbi State, it is time to roll out and expand sustainably across other Sates. The Government is committed to providing all the necessary support required.”

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President Buhari has directed PAGMI to ensure that the Solid Minerals Development Fund expedites the execution of additional directions in order to help the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative.

All stakeholders should complete the continuing task of suggesting a percentage of accruals be committed to the Solid Minerals Development Fund, according to the President.

“The dedication of a portion of accruals to create a sustainable income stream for the Solid Minerals Development Fund is essential to delivering the mandates assigned to the Fund. The development of a sustainable funding stream for the Fund will conclude the implementation of the Fund’s Establishment Act, which is a key focus area for this Administration.

“This initiative is of great pride to me because through our intervention we can reach hardworking Nigerians in the field, toiling and the quarries under the sun trying to earn an honest living.

“We have been able to protect them from clutches of those who exploit their hard labour, while simultaneously bringing them into the value chain to earn improved income from their hard work. I expect a six-month progress report that will clearly show significant progress by scaling up the program from its current pilot stage,” he added.

PAGMI’s Steering Committee and Management Team, led by the Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari as Chairman and Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Sen. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu as Vice-Chairman of the Steering Committee, have done an excellent job, according to the President.

The President stated that the Responsible Mining Framework provided will result in a more effective and transparent gold supply chain, as well as initiatives to tackle money laundering, terrorist funding, human rights violations, and environmental stewardship.

“I am particularly pleased with the coordination and integration aspects of the document.

“I want to commend the Central Bank Governor for his support of the Solid Minerals Development Fund in the delivery of PAGMI, particularly in the commitment to paying a fair price to support the artisanal miners and providing a market for PAGMI. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning is to be commended also for her support in increasing the capitalization of PAGMI through the already approved facility.”

PAGMI’s Steering Committee and Management Team, led by the Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari as Chairman and Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Sen. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu as Vice-Chairman of the Steering Committee, have done an excellent job, according to the President.

The President stated that the Responsible Mining Framework provided will result in a more effective and transparent gold supply chain, as well as initiatives to tackle money laundering, terrorist funding, human rights violations, and environmental stewardship.

Dr. Uche Ogar, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development who led the delegation, said that since the President’s approval of the initiative “to address structural and institutional factors such as rural poverty and lack of alternative livelihood, and difficulty in meeting legal and regulatory requirements that tends to push artisanal gold mining operators deeper into the informal economy, PAGMI had created the opportunity for formalisation and mammoth growth.

He claims that five billion dollars in gold were unlawfully transported out of Nigeria between 2012 and 2018.

During her briefing, Hajiya Fatima Umaru Shinkafi, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Solid Mineral Development Fund, requested that the President, among other things, increase the Fund’s capitalisation so that it can expand to other states requesting its intervention, allowing the committee to meet its 5-ton target; and order an intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to minimize losses by artisanal miners due to foreign exchange fluctuations.

In order to continue the project, Shinkafi urged for funding of specific investigations to catalyze private sector investment and develop PAGMI into a large-scale operator.

She also stated that the Steering Committee’s Responsible Mining Framework complies with international standards and was developed in collaboration with other parties such as NEITI, the EFCC, and the Nigerian Customs Service.

According to her, the document is expected to reduce crime, lead poisoning, child labour, economic sabotage, and terrorism financing.

In 2020, the Committee presented the President with the first ever artisanal gold produced and obtained within Nigeria.

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