The National President of Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alhj. Sani Shehu has stated that the mining industry will experience a boom under the administration of President Muhammad Buhari.
“Mining sector has been his priority. One can say with some level of comfort that the mining sector is about to experience a push. He has track record of being sincere and straightforward in whatever he says”, Shehu observed.
He said that mining activities is beyond the government but added that government is not involved in mining but that they issue license. He also pointed out that nobody is allowed to mine without license, which is the practice world over.
Alhaji Shehu revealed that what is needed to add to the mining document (miners’ road map) -which is being drafted- is sustainable political will by the government.
He is against the impression people have about mining and he went on to correct it. “Let me correct one impression about the industry”, he started.
“Some people will say we need this, that; some will mention figures. Mining is capital intensive. I think saying this without a caveat is a disservice to the industry. I should be able to say that mining needs million dollars to be developed. Yes but there are stages to mining development.
“You don’t expect all these money to come at once by mentioning those crazy figures. You will make the government to understand that mining is capital intensive but you can start stage by stage” he posited.
He said government should know that mining is capital intensive but capital injection has to be from one stage to another. Capital injection has so many components according to him: government component, components from the investors and so on. He noted that many nations started small.
He went on to inform our reporters that his association has just finished their membership authentication, which according to him will generate the following information; first, what does the miner mines – the type of license the miner has, type of mining ( eg. Small scale). The structure of mining (small scale miner can go into cooperative with the community; some are limited liability in nature.
This information according to him is contained in the authentication programme. He went on to say that after the authentication of the program that the association can be segmented by saying that lead miners are this; industrial miners are this. Hear him further; “We will also do it state by state. By the time we finish, we will be able to have a dependable data that will be verifiable. We can see the type of license each member has in order to domicile them in our file”.
He pointed out that miners need to have mining cadastral offices at the six zones to avoid inconveniences by miners during registration and renewal of papers.
He also said that miners need intervention fund not money from commercial banks because their measures are stringent. He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is talking about SME fund which miners can access at 9% interest rate.
On tax payment, he said an average miner pays a number of money to government coffers; 1. payment of returns; 2. Annual fee for mining registration; 3Royalty whenever you get mineral
The taxes according to him are statutory and are not impediment to mining.
Alhaji Sani Shehu did not frown at the accusation that miners destroy the environment. “They say we are destroying the environment which is true. Just like one professor put it; ‘Mining is the destroying environment business’. You cannot mine until you destroy the environment. There are options; either to destroy the environment and later come back and repair it or leave completely”, he said.
He believes in government promise to diversify the economy through mining. He pointed out that mining can create employment and generate revenue for government.