By Palma Ileye
Federal Government through the Nigeria Mining Cadastral Office, NMCO, in its continued efforts to advance the economy using technology has harped on the transparency of Mining licence noting that it will foster development of Mining sector and attract more investors to the country.
Director General of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, NMCO, Engr Simon Obadiah Nkom stated this yesterday at the 2023 Mining Week held at International Conference Centre, ICC in Abuja.
Nkom noted that, once Nigeria get it right in mining title administration it will boost the economy and will also entice more investments locally and globally.
He said that if licensing was not transparent enough there was no way it will be able actually attract the needed investment, particularly in the sector adding that as long as we get it wrong in the Mining, Title administration it becomes a big problem.
He explained, “But as it relates to mining licenses, nation’s Transparency Initiative, we work very closely with them because once title administration, like I said, is not transparent then there’s no way people will be able to come and invest, At the same time. There is the concept of people having licenses or not actually using it.
“So, that is why during my presentation, I had to come out very clear, because, if licensing is not transparent enough, then there is no way it will be able to now actually attract the needed investment, particularly in the sector. And as long as we get it wrong in the mining, title administration, then it becomes a big problem.”
The MCO boss stated that Government has established laws on license withdrawals.
“There are two ways you can lose a license, first of all, non payment of one or service fees. And the second one is dormant activities in addition to other obligations which is spelled out clearly in the app. That is why one of our key principles in the mining cadastre “Is use it or you lose it” because at the end of the day, if you don’t use the license, you lose it.
“The most important thing at the end of the day is that we need to be able to open up the minds of people who are holding licenses and lack the technical capability or they had plans when I say luck is a precondition for granting a license or you may have your own plans.
“In terms of other Agencies, particularly when you look at the Technical Departments, you look at an IT, you look at security agents, Local Governments. So there is a need to be able to now be on the same page, particularly as far as mineral title administration is concerned.
“After six months or one year you’ll find out that they needed financial funding, whatever support you couldn’t get it. So at the end of the day, it affects your activity and you have no option but to be able to now actually.
“After the e-commerce launch, it is fair to be compliance actually, you know, because it’s something to do with digitalization and online online system. Equally we need to be able to carry out sensitization to the various Stakeholders in the Six Geopolitical Zones, will continue to sensitize people on adopting to the use of the EMC+ process.
“Anytime you bring a new system is either you find some people shying away from it or you find some people appreciating it. But at the end of the day, you must be able to now bring in bring in support. It’s not everybody that has the same level of intellectual, it is not everybody that is computer, the level of computer literacy. So that is what we have for now, we are 100% online, real time we have migrated and it assists people who sit in the comfort of their offices, their homes or whatever. We have 40% of people who have submitted applications without being assisted by the Mining industry.
“And we are working towards making sure that at the end of the day, we have 100% people submitting their applications. As such, they will not have any business coming to the office because there are a lot of benefits,” he further explained.
He emphasized that the Mining Cadastre Office was operating the EMC+, an online application for transparency.
“What I see in the mining industry is what you see even in your phones or even back in Canada or anywhere in the world. And as such, once you are able to now have that system in place, which is one of its kind is going to boost investments in the sector,” the MCO boss added.
Furthermore he informed that, “There is a ban on Mining activities does not mean that your license has been banned. You can come in and do your modifications. You can come in and do your renewals. You can come here and do any other transaction they only said activities wise. People have been coming to actually carry out renewals, transfers modifications, and we believe that with the new renewed hope all those issues would be settled.”
Speaking on the benefits of the Mining week to the Stakeholders, he noted that the event would provide an avenue for investors to interact and showcase their potential for both local and international investors.