The Federal Government has trained 120 youths and women in Plateau State on artisanal and small-scale mining in an effort to stop the tide of income loss in the solid mineral sector.
The week-long capacity building, which was done through the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, ended in Jos on Friday.
The Chairman of RMAFC, Research and Development Committee, Mr Ajasin Tokunbo, decried the low contribution of the solid minerals sector to Nigeria’s revenue earnings, blaming it on the non-formalisation of the activities of many actors in the sector.
Tokunbo noted that over the years, the commission saddled with the constitutional responsibility to monitor accruals into and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account had observed that revenue accruals into the account from the solid mineral sector had been abysmally low compared to that from hydrocarbon.
He also noted that the present situation contradicts what was obtained in the 1970s when the Nigeria economy was sustained by revenue from the solid mineral sector.
He said it was in order to change the ugly narrative that the RMAFC, in conjunction with other development partners, decided to train the artisanal miners in Plateau state and formalize their operations so as to boost revenue from the sector into the Federation account
“The government has been making concerted efforts to diversify the nation’s economy away from over-dependence on hydrocarbon to other sectors such as solid mineral, manufacturing, and tourism, among others, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
“These activities were aimed at identifying the challenges being experienced by the ASMs while emphasizing the need for stronger collaboration with the sub national governments towards addressing the challenges.
“The aim of the project is to address specifically the problems of Tin Artisanal and Small Scale Miners and the possibility of formalizing their activities through registered Cooperatives in order to capture them into the tax net and consequently boost revenue from the sector into the Federation Account,” the chairman who was represented by the Vice Chairman, Ambassador Ayuba Nubaco said.
The United Nations Development Programme representative in Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Yahya, said the world body would continue to support Nigeria to achieve its development goals.
Yahya, who was represented by UNDP National Economist, Mrs Precious Akanonu, donated some machines and equipment to the 120 artisanal miners selected from six cooperatives in the state.
The Managing Director of Plateau Minerals Development Company, Martins Darwan, thanked the federal government and the development partners for the initiative and for coming to the rescue of artisanal miners in the state.
He appealed to the government to consider the possibility of converting the various mining ponds scattered in different communities to more productive usages, including power generation, in the interest of the state and its people.
“We believe that if our request is granted ,Plateau will be better for for it,” he stated.