The Executive Director of Global Rights Nigeria, Ms. Abiodun Baiyewu, has called on the federal government to formalise the activities of artisinal miners.
Baiyewu made the call during a stakeholders’ engagement on the development and implementation of an effective fiscal regime in Nigeria’s Artisinal/small scale mining sector in Abuja.
The Executive Director explained that the government must be willing to “incentivise the formalisation of artisinal miners to prevent them from going undergoing.” This, she pointed out, comes with a lot of security, social and environmental challenges.
“At the same time, the mining host communities are bearing the burden of the environmental devastation and infrastructural strain of artisinal mining.”
[penci_blockquote style=”style-2″ align=”none” author=””] He called on the government to take advantage of the huge potential of the sector by implementing an effective fiscal regime for the small time miners.[/penci_blockquote]
According to her, with over 80 per cent of mining in the country carried out by small miners, it was time the government began to build a fiscal regime framework for them.
Speaking also, Director Communication, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Orji Ogbonaya Orji, asserted that the desired revenue can be gotten from artisinal miners when they are organised.
According to Orji, instead of the government sanctioning them, they should be encouraged to come together and formalise their businesses.
“We recommend that instead of chasing them we need to engage them in robust discussion, we need to organise them because some of them are willing to engage in legitimate business. And because we treat them as illegal miners they create all sorts of problems including environmental problems.
“We need to cover them with proactive legislation that will define who is doing what and how,” he added.
He called on the government to take advantage of the huge potential of the sector by implementing an effective fiscal regime for the small time miners.
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“We need funds from artisinal miners in terms of royalties, in terms of taxes that accrue because that sector is not properly organised,” he added.
For the National President, Miners Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sani Shehu, there is need for the government to support small miners with technology to enable them contribute to the economic development of the country.
While noting the challenge posed by lack of data for artisinal miners, Alhaji Shehu welcomed the administration of a fiscal regime for small miners saying it would go a long way to boost the economy.
“We need to provide simple technology that miners in other parts of West Agasfrica use, where they are integrated and given the necessary support so that their fiscal contribution can be captured,” he said.