By Tanko Mohammed
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the inauguration of the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI).
The Director-General, NACCIMA, Amb. Ayoola Olukanni, gave the commendation on Monday in Lagos.
PAGMI was designed to foster the formalisation and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into the nation’s legal, economic and institutional framework.
Nigeria, for the first time, produced artisanally mined gold, processed and refined according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) standards.
The development paved the way for the use of gold as a reserve instrument by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This means that the CBN can purchase gold that has been mined, processed and refined under PAGMI for use, as part of the nation’s external reserves.
Olukanni, who described the move as truly laudable, said that the initiative would deploy safer and more efficient mining and processing technologies across artisanal mining locations in the country.
He stated that if vigorously pursued, activities in the mining sector could grow exponentially and contribute as much as $27 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025, as envisioned under the Mining Road Map.
“NACCIMA sees the presentation by President Buhari, of the 12.5kg gold bar reportedly worth N268million to the CBN Governor, for the nation’s reserves, as a visible evidence of the potentialities to significantly scale up contribution of the Nigerian mining sector to the economy.
“Also worthy of note is the indication that PAGMI, with its safe modern operations, can generate about 250,000 jobs and over $500 million in taxes and royalties.
“The association views this as possibility of achieving the goals in the 2016 road map, for the growth of the mining industry,” he said.
The NACCIMA director-general, however, called for greater involvement of the private sector, especially the Chamber members in states with gold deposits, in the implementation of the initiative.
He noted that the Chamber members of NACCIMA were poised and ready to do their part, through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Olukanni encouraged Chamber members, especially those in the gold mining states identified for the pilot scheme, namely: Kebbi, Osun, Kaduna, Zamfara and Niger, to key into the scheme.
According to him, the prime objective of involvement and encouragement of Chamber members from the mining states is to expand the scope for the private sector to also participate actively in the National Gold Purchase Programme, encapsulated in the initiative.