3 December 2020 By Georgina Humphrey
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite says disbursement of the sum of N311 million out of the N1.08 billion for 13 loan applications approved by Bank of Industry (BOI) so far is not encouraging.
The Minister stated this at a one-day workshop organized by the Ministry for Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners, ASM, across the Country.
He urged the miners to suggest ideas that would enhance the template for disbursement of the fund.
Adegbite explained that as at September 30, 2020 a total of 138 applications totalling N14. 59 billion were received by the Fund and are at various stages of processing.
“This disbursement is however low when compared to the total application, largely because applicants have failed to meet the necessary but stringent requirements stipulated by the bank,” he noted.
“I am quite glad about today’s workshop which has brought together industry operators from across the Country to deliberate and rub minds together on how best to access the support fund for artisanal and Small-scale Miners.
“Mining in Nigeria is still largely artisanal based, which is why the Ministry created a Department called Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining, to provide institutional support for artisanal miners.
The Minister, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Mr. Olu Adedayo said the Ministry was working assiduously to ensure that the difficulties inherent in accessing the fund were removed.
The Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah said President Muhammadu Buhari graciously set aside the fund to boost the activities of artisanal mining so as to contribute to the economic development of the country.
He, however, stressed that the N5 billion is a revolving loan and not a grant, emphasizing the need for judicious use and repayment.
Ogah reiterated that the Bank of Industry (BOI) is always willing to partner artisanal, small scale miners and the Ministry, adding that they should be sincere in providing required information in their applications to the bank.
Speaking in the same vein, the Bank of industry, BOI, representative at the workshop, Mrs. Olayinka Mubarak, stated that the partnership between the Bank and the Ministry is to boost the activities in the mining value chain through the ASM.
The workshop was convened to deliberate and proffer ways of accessing the intervention fund.