President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) to provide a six-month progress report on the Solid Minerals Development Fund, designed to capture accruals from investments.
The directive from the Presidency is also aimed at ensuring probity and best practice in the mining sector, a statement by Buhari’s aide on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina indicated on Wednesday.
At a briefing by the Steering Committee and Management Team of PAGMI at the State House, the President charged the team to scale up operations in the mining sector by ensuring that investments go beyond artisanal and small-scale levels.
“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 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.