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Published On: Thu, Nov 20th, 2014

NEPC, Solid Minerals Ministry partner to tackle illegal mining

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Effort to tackle the activities of illegal miners in the solid minerals sector will soon yield result as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Ministry of Solid Minerals have agreed to constitute a Technical Group that will address the incidences of illegal mining for export.

Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Mr. Olusgeun Awolowo while on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Solid Minerals Development Arc. Muhammed Sada.

Awolowo noted that given the dwindling price of oil in the international market, there was need to reposition the non-oil export sector as a viable alternative to sustaining the nation’s economy with a view to providing jobs and creating wealth along identified value chains.

Awolowo said that there was need to support and collaborate with the Ministry as mining was a critical sector of the economy, noting that “there is a huge market for our gem stones and solid minerals but most of the products are smuggled out of the country by illegal miners”.

On artisanal miners who wish to formalize their exports, he disclosed that the Council will provide support to enhance their operations through the Export Development Fund (EDF) a pre-shipment incentive which is specifically targeted at Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Responding, the Minister expressed willingness to partner the Council in formalizing activities in the sector as 90 percent of trades in gem stones are smuggled.

To address the issue, Sada implored the Council to create an export path for the product by promoting the marketing aspect of the sector, in view of its expected contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Speaking on the way forward, he cited the strategy adopted by the Ethiopian Government which bought all solid mineral products from mining companies operating within the country for export thereby eradicating the activities of illegal miners who often smuggle the product causing loss revenue to the country.

Sada commended the recent World Bank’s funded study Development Plan towards the sustainable management of solid mineral through SME activities.

 

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