The mines and steel sector in Nigeria is said to have generated about N1.4 billion income revenue in 2011 to the Federal Government, even as the World Bank has been called upon to consider starting THE phase two of the Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP).
This was revealed by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Muhammed Sada, during the end of Project Stakeholders Workshop of the Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP) 2005 to 2012, held at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, yesterday.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Idris Kuta said the capacity to improve on revenue collection was engendered by the SMMRP project through the facilitation of the Mining Cadastre Office, the training of staff and the provision of field vehicles required for effective mine site supervision.
He said the project has contributed to wealth creation and poverty reduction in the artisanal and small scale mining areas as the sector has now contributed nearly 10 per cent to the GDP of Nigeria in 2011 from the previous three per cent in 2005.
On the project which started in 2005 with the World Bank contribution of $120 million for the development of the sector, which is now set to close by May 30, the minister said: “The view of the ministry is that the SMMRP project is closing at a wrong time as the government is not ready for its closure. The World Bank intervention needs to continue until when the government is ready to take over and build on project achievement.
“Until we reach a comfortable level of government funding for the sector, we believe that the World Bank’s assistance would still be needed. Accordingly, we hereby make a case for SMMRP project II to enable a prompt intervention of some other critical areas in pursuit of solid minerals development, as a stop gap to keep momentum and forestall collapse of the lofty achievements of SMMRP.
Earlier, the Task team leader/Senior Minining Specialist Sustainable Energy, Oil, Gas and Mining Department of the World Bank, Ms Ekaterina Mikhaylova, said the various activities to develop the Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) sub-sector have led to increase in employment, adding that over 30, 000 jobs were created by formalising over 600 ASM cooperatives, while thousands of jobs were also created through ancillary services such as catering at the mine sites.