The director Communications of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Orji Ogbonnaya Orji has said that only about 20 per cent miners do legitimate businesses in the Nigerian mineral and mining sector. The director who stated this while speaking with Journalists at the stakeholders Engagement on the Development and implementation of an Effective Fiscal Regime in Nigeria’s Artisanal/Small Scale Mining Sector Organised by Global Rights, in Abuja yesterday, said this findings were the results of a study conducted by NEITI with support from the World Bank recently.
He said, “I do not want to make any statement that is not based on research as the statement I am making is based on findings from a study conducted with the support of the World Bank on who is doing what in the mining sector. “From the study, the size of the sector is huge, it is almost about 70 per cent or more based on research which we did jointly with the World Bank. So on the basis of that research, we found out that artisanal mining constituted 70 per cent of the sector as at 2007. We think by now it should have expanded. We find that those doing legitimate business in that sector are less than 20 per cent or thereabout.”
He noted that the sector is yet to be organised as artisanal mining in the sector is regarded as illegal mining. “And as long as we regard artisanal miners as illegal miners we also ignore the revenues which come from it if we come back to organise,” he said. “We have seen countries like Ethiopia where illegal miners were organised in such a way that they do more good than harm and the revenue that accrue from such sectors became huge. All those are contained in the study we did with the World Bank, we must dialogue with them to ensure they are carried along in our proceedings”, he added.
Also speaking, Global Rights country representative, Abiodun Baiyewu said artisanal mining is 80 per cent of mining concerns in Nigeria and is largely informal which means that government is not deriving any revenue from them and at the same time, mining host communities are bearing the impact of the environmental devastation and the infrastructural strain of artisanal mining. Also speaking consultant, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, a World Bank project, Tokoh Michael Akong said government had put several measures in place towards addressing the environmental challenges of mining.
These he said include policies, awareness creation and sensitisation as well as several workshops organised to make sure that stakeholders dialogue to ensure abuses are taken into consideration.
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