The six tons of Nigeria’s gold traded internationally since 2016 have not made any meaningful impact on the economy.
Alhaji Abubakar Bwari, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development said while giving account of his stewardship in the last two years.
He said that a lot of gold left the shores of the country over the years without royalty paid on them.
According to him, the recent seizures of gold by security agencies at Nigerian Airports have made the Federal Government to reorganise the gold sector.
“After carefully considering the role precious metals and minerals play in the economy of nations, this administration found it expedient to re-organise the gold sector without any delay,’’ he said.
He said that the ministry had developed a draft gold policy that would facilitate development of the entire gold value chain of the country.
The minister of state said that the policy was aimed at eliciting formal gold production, regulate trade and document exports and to check the irregularity in the sector that had caused huge losses to the national economy.
According to him, the policy will also stem the prevalence of unhealthy working conditions and gold smuggling, which inhibit collection of royalties, fees and taxes.
Bwari said that the ministry also initiated a National Gold Purchase Scheme to promote production, aggregation and refining of Nigerian gold for purchase by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said the approval for the development and implementation of the scheme by the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) was one of the major outcomes of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Labs.
“The scheme will be deployed under two platforms; the first is the Public Sector Window, which involves the production of gold by registered artisans under a model integrated gold production system.
“And will be operated by SMDF Special Purpose Vehicle.
“This direct intervention is planned for Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Osun and Kaduna states.
“The second window involves the provision of access to equipment through a lease/hire-purchase loan facility for Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Miners.
“The loan facility will be serviced from income on gold production, which will be aggregated through existing mineral buying centres by SMDF/CBN Authorised offs takers.’’
Bwari said the projections of the scheme would guarantee the formal employment of 50 per cent of the 110,000 artisanal gold mining workforce in Nigeria.
“An estimated 250,000 jobs will be created by extension in other sectors that will service the organised gold supply chain, the projected production is 175,000 ounces (5,469 kilograms) of refined gold bullion in the first year.
“The projected earnings in the gold sub-sector shall increase by N53 billion and boost the solid minerals sector’s contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 80 per cent.
He said that the pilot phase of the National Gold Purchase Scheme would be inaugurated in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State by President, Muhammadu Buhari later in the month.