FG warns Mining Firms on CDA rules

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…Hints Private sector-led Nigerian Mining Corporation underway

By Palma Ileye

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake has warned Mining firms in the country to comply with revised Community Development Agreements, CDA or risk sanctions by the Federal Government.

This was contained in a press release issued to newsmen by Segun Tomori, Special Assistant to the Minister of Solid Minerals Develoment.

Giving the keynote address at the maiden BusinessDay Solid Minerals Conference, titled “Digging Deeper: Diversifying Nigeria’s Economy for Wealth Creation”, Alake lauded the Newspapers for upholding the ethics of the journalism profession whilst lending its platform for independent and analytical dissemination of information to the citizenry.

He said, “Many of you witnessed the attempt to abort the emergence of this civilian administration, even at its embryonic stage by media carpetbaggers. It is, therefore, a matter of great relief that BusinessDay broke from this negativism by demonstrating exemplary liberalism, openness, and fair play.”

Going down memory lane, the Minister recalled the heroic strides of BusinessDay Publisher, Frank Aigbogun in the struggle for restoration of Democracy in the aftermath of the annulment of the June 12 elections, stressing that as the then editor of Vanguard Newspapers, he provided the platform that sustained the struggle.

Highlighting efforts to reposition the Mining sector, he emphasized his 7-point agenda was well course, stating that planning for the establishment of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation has reached an advanced stage as the process of creating an enabling law by the National Assembly to guide the operations of the institution is underway.

“In working with the legislature to establish the legal and legitimate foundation for the institution, our resolve to ensure that a share structure in line with private sector-led strategy in which the Federal Government will not hold more than 25%, the Nigerian citizens will by public shares hold 25 percent and private investors, each with a maximum of 10 percent of the shares of the N1 billion share capital will be achieved,” he said.

On Exploration data, Alake revealed that the Federal Government was exploring funding options to undertake an ambitious integrated minerals exploration project that will produce a total and comprehensive coverage of all categories of minerals in the entire Nigerian landscape of 923,768 square kilometers which he noted may extend to coastal foreshores to explore opportunities in deep sea mining.

The Minister also informed his audience that President Bola Tinubu was taking the issue of security around mining sites and natural resources very seriously, hence the establishment of the inter-ministerial committee chaired by him, which last week gave heads of security agencies two weeks to roll out modalities for the new security architecture that will cater to mining, coastal economy and forests.

According to Alake, Nigeria is improving ease of doing business in the mining sector by digitizing the mining application processes through Electronic Mining Cadastral System, eMC+, an online licensing application platform through which anyone anywhere in the world can apply for various categories of mining licenses and approvals.

“Efforts are also being made to improve the Nigerian Mining and Minerals Act 2007 to accommodate the changes over the years and make it more amenable to national priorities,” he asserted.

Reading the riot act to mining companies, Alake declared that the era disregarding the revised guidelines for Community Development Agreements, CDA, was over as Government was poised to begin enforcement and mete out sanctions to defaulters, where necessary.

The Minister restated the commitment of the Tinubu administration to turning the mining sector into Nigeria’s new petroleum, urging BusinessDay to lead the fourth estate of the realm in propagating reforms and projecting the sector.