By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has hosted received the leadership of the Miners Association of Nigeria with a promise to fine solution to the challenges including unfriendly policies and laws.
To start with, the president enjoined state governments to discard policies or laws inhibiting the growth and development of the mining industry.
Making the appeal, President Buhari said: “I have listened very carefully to your address and I believe the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will articulate your address and forward it to me so that whatever we can do through the supervising minister we should encourage you in terms of understanding of the state governments that are interfering with your activities.’’
“I’ll also look at the question of Customs, not looking other way but being very professional and patriotic so that you won’t mind when they insist on what is due to the country in terms of revenue and of course not making it too difficult for you.
“I’m very pleased with this visit, I’m pleased that we have got some royal fathers that are part of your management team in terms of supporting you, I believe they can influence your state governments, the state governments that are maybe making things difficult,’’ he said.
President Buhari also directed the Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Mr Bawa Bwari, to particularly look into the complaints of the association with a view to addressing them.
He said: “I think the minister should take this on, that is why he is there to make sure that he makes it worthwhile for you to invest more, to attract more foreign investors that can bring capital and technology.
The president assured that his administration would continue to reinvigorate the mining industry in the country so as to create more employment opportunities and to generate more revenue to diversify the nation’s economy.
“As I said, the interest of the federal government is really employment and the revenue and we hope your foreign partners will invest more in bringing technology and equipment to bear on the industry,’’ he added.
In his remark, the President of the Association, Alhaji Sani Shehu, said that Nigeria had recovered its prime position in mining jurisdiction of the world, especially as it related to Tin, Lead-Zinc, Gemstones and Gold.
He noted that all these achievements were made possible due to the hope, direction, stability, efficiency and the credibility of the Buhari administration.
Shehu, however, outlined the challenges facing the mining industry to include undue interference in the mining governance by some state governors and inadequate funding to rejuvenate the sector to become the future economic mainstay of Nigeria.
He, therefore, appealed for presidential intervention to protect miners from “undue interference of some state governors who make mining difficult in their states.’’
He also appealed for fiscal policy in the mining sector to address the multiple taxations being experienced by miners.(NAN)