President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) to scale up its operations in the mining sector by ensuring that investments go beyond artisanal and small scale levels.
Buhari, who spoke yesterday at the Presidential Villa when he received briefing by the Steering Committee and Management Team of PAGMI, asked the body to provide a six-month progress report on the Solid Minerals Development Fund, designed to capture accruals from investments.
The President also said he is in support of the Steering Committee’s target of aggregating 3-5 tons of gold over the next 12 months, noting that this will deliver tremendous fiscal and economic benefits to the nation.
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President’s instructions would further ensure probity and best practice in the mining sector.
“The PAGMI Management Team should now develop innovative ways to move PAGMI to the next level to ensure the Nigerian mining story goes beyond artisanal and small-scale mining.
“I support the Steering Committee’s target of aggregating 3-5 tons of gold over the next 12 months, as this will deliver tremendous fiscal and economic benefits to the nation. The Solid Minerals Development Fund should work with all relevant Government agencies to identify the support and funding needed to deliver on this aggregation target.
“Now that you have successfully delivered a pilot scheme in Kebbi State, it is time to roll out and expand sustainably across other Sates. The Government is committed to providing all the necessary support required,” he said.
President Buhari urged PAGMI to ensure that the Solid Minerals Development Fund fast-tracks delivery of other directives to support the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative.
The President said all stakeholders should conclude the ongoing assignment of recommending a portion of accruals to be dedicated to the Solid Minerals Development Fund.
“The dedication of a portion of accruals to create a sustainable income stream for the Solid Minerals Development Fund is essential to delivering the mandates assigned to the Fund. The development of a sustainable funding stream for the Fund will conclude the implementation of the Fund’s Establishment Act, which is a key focus area for this Administration.
“This initiative is of great pride to me because through our intervention we can reach hardworking Nigerians in the field, toiling and the quarries under the sun trying to earn an honest living.
“We have been able to protect them from clutches of those who exploit their hard labor, while simultaneously bringing them into the value chain to earn improved income from their hard work. I expect a six-month progress report that will clearly show significant progress by scaling up the program from its current pilot stage,” he added.