The Nigerian Government has inaugurated a new programme that allows donor development agencies to assist in bridging gaps and deficiencies in the Nigerian mining sector.
Dr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, performed the exercise in Abuja.
The agencies, which included the World Bank, UNIDO, UNDP, DFID, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, would help to solve the challenges confronting the sector to take its place of pride.
He said that the inauguration was also conducted to spell out their responsibilities to avoid duplication and unnecessary competitions
The minister said this would ensure that the agencies understood areas to assist the ministry to align with its mandates.
Dr. Kayode said that the Department for International Development (DFID) would assist the ministry in financing cost of advisory and technical teams.
“Ford Foundation would finance the ministry’s strategic communication, environmental and social justice activities; Medecin San Frontiers would undertake a pilot clean up in Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) communities affected by lead poison from the gold processing activities”.
He, however, said that OSIWA would review the legal and regulatory obstacles in the sector, financing the ministry strategic communication activities, among others.
On UNIDO, he said it would assist the country to develop the Minamata convention Initial Assessment and a National Action Plan on mercury used in ASM gold mining as stipulated in the convention.
The minister said that UNDP would assist the ministry to implement the African Mining Vision (AMV) and the framework for revenue collection, to address revenue leakages.
“The World Bank would focus on strengthening the Federal Government in its role to establish a strong foundation for mining sector development as sector regulator and facilitator. The African Development Bank (AFDB), would support the quest to develop the ministry’s energy minerals”, he said.
According to him, the ministry is working in collaboration with other relevant ministries such as Works, Power, Housing and Transport to provide infrastructure which is key to the development of the mining sector.
He said that ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Water Resources would align the sector’s work on agro- minerals, particularly phosphate, land use and water rights permit to minimise delays as well as protect the environment.
The Ministry of Finance and CBN would support the establishment of investment support facilities for the mining industry as provided in the Mining Act as well as enable the industry to scale up its activities.
Mr Jean Bakole, UNIDO Representative to ECOWA and Regional Director, Nigeria Regional Office, said the role of donor agency to the government or ministry included policy dialogue and advisory role.
According to Bakole, UNIDO is partnering with Nigeria in the process of formalising a new country programme.
He added that mining had been identified as one of the key areas it would partner with for the next four years.
”The four-year programme of UNIDO is to build capacity, promote technology transfer, the best techniques and environmental practices. Others include formalisation of ASM, promotion of sustainable artisanal gold value chain and implementation of article seven of the Minamata Convention,” he said.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
He reaffirmed UNIDO’s commitment to work closely with the ministry, to implement its mandate and other stakeholders at the state and federal levels as well as with all partners engaged in the sector.
All the donor agencies have promised to assist the ministry to reposition the sector as a mining destination in the international mining community.