In a significant move to reduce revenue loss in the solid mineral sector, the Federal Government of Nigeria has trained 120 youths and women in Plateau State on artisanal and small-scale mining. This week-long capacity-building program was a collaboration between the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), concluding in Jos.
Mr Ajasin Tokunbo, Chairman of the RMAFC Research and Development Committee, expressed concern over the minimal contribution of the solid minerals sector to Nigeria’s revenue, attributing this to the non-formalisation of many sector actors. He noted the stark contrast to the 1970s when the Nigerian economy was sustained by revenue from solid minerals.
The training aimed to change this narrative by formalizing the operations of artisanal miners in Plateau State, thereby boosting revenue into the Federation account. Tokunbo highlighted the government’s efforts to diversify the economy, focusing on sectors like solid minerals, manufacturing, and tourism, aligning with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
Artisanal and Small Scale Miners, constituting about 80% of Nigeria’s mining sector, contribute minimally to the federation account due to the informal nature of their operations. The federal government, in partnership with organizations like the UNDP and the EU, is working to formalize these activities and train miners for better performance.
The project specifically addresses the problems of Tin Artisanal and Small Scale Miners, aiming to formalize their activities through registered Cooperatives. This would capture them into the tax net and consequently boost revenue from the sector.
UNDP representative in Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Yahya, reaffirmed the world body’s support for Nigeria’s development goals. The UNDP donated machines and equipment to the 120 artisanal miners selected from six cooperatives in the state.
Martins Darwan, Managing Director of Plateau Minerals Development Company, thanked the federal government and development partners for the initiative. He appealed for the conversion of mining ponds in various communities for productive uses, including power generation, to benefit the state and its people.
The Federal Government’s initiative to train youths and women in artisanal and small-scale mining in Plateau State is a commendable step towards revitalizing Nigeria’s solid mineral sector. This sector, once a cornerstone of the Nigerian economy, has seen a decline in its contribution to national revenue, largely due to the informal nature of its operations. By focusing on training and formalization, the government is not only aiming to increase revenue but also to empower local communities and promote sustainable mining practices.
The importance of diversifying Nigeria’s economy cannot be overstated. With an over-reliance on hydrocarbons, the nation’s economic stability is vulnerable to global market fluctuations. Investing in the solid minerals sector offers a viable alternative, potentially leading to job creation, community development, and more balanced economic growth.
However, the success of such initiatives depends on their execution and the continued support of the government and international partners. The skills and knowledge imparted through these training programs must be accompanied by access to necessary resources and a supportive regulatory framework. This will ensure that the benefits of the sector are maximized and shared equitably among all stakeholders.
The government’s efforts to formalize the artisanal mining sector are essential in curbing illegal mining activities and environmental degradation. Formalization not only brings miners into the tax net but also encourages responsible mining practices that are crucial for environmental sustainability and the health and safety of mining communities.
This initiative is a step in the right direction for Nigeria’s economic diversification and sustainable development. Such programs must be expanded and replicated across other states with mining potential, ensuring a holistic development of the solid minerals sector in Nigeria.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria’s Solid Mineral Wealth: Nigeria is endowed with over 34 solid minerals, including coal, tin, and gold, which are largely untapped.
- Economic Diversification: Nigeria’s efforts to diversify its economy include focusing on sectors like agriculture, solid minerals, and technology.
- Artisanal Mining: Artisanal and small-scale mining is crucial for rural economies in Nigeria, providing livelihoods for millions.
- Environmental Impact: Unregulated mining in Nigeria has led to environmental challenges, including land degradation and water pollution.
- Global Partnerships: Nigeria’s collaboration with international bodies like the UNDP signifies a global approach to sustainable mining practices.