Ado Ekiti — The Miners’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), has described dearth of equipment and multiple taxation as main impediments causing low productivity of the solid minerals sector in Nigeria, urging the federal government to tackle the menace for the growth of the economic unit.
The Chairman of MAN,Ekiti Chapter, Mr. Abiodun Elegbede, said the sector, which ought to be money- spinning due to large solid mineral deposits in the country would continue to suffer deficit, except sophisticated equipment are provided and multiple taxation payable by miners are eradicated.
Elegbede spoke in Ado Ekiti on Saturday , at a three-day capacity building organised by African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (center LSD), Abuja in partnership with Ford Foundation for Host community representatives and artisanal miners in Ekiti State.
Elegbede said the training was an eye opener that so many opportunities abound in the solid minerals value chain, if only Nigerians could take advantage of it.
“The most difficult challenges are low access to finance to purchase equipment, multiple taxation, poor orientation, crisis with host communities and many others.
At the training, the Director, Centre LSD, Dr. Umenike Umesi, added that lack of proper legislation and negotiation were responsible for why the mining firms were cheating host communities in the country.
Preaching gender mainstreaming in extractive industry, the expert, said women should be part of the drivers of the industry as policy makers and business owners, saying female folks constitute the largest population of the poor people globally.
Umesi said with proper negotiation and implementation of relevant protective laws, that owners of extractive industries would find it difficult to cheat or neglect their host communities in provision of amenities and employment generation.
Making allusion to environmental degradion causing host communities to protest activities of mining industries, Umesi said: “I could precisely hinge this on poor implementation of our laws and host communities not negotiating properly at the beginning of operations of those firms.
Umesi urged the miners to organise themselves into functional cooperative societies to be able to access funds available for them in the Bank of Industry(BoI).
“They have to negotiate well on what amenities they need, money to be paid, employment to be provided and how they should do these. They should also train their children in line with the minerals in their communities, so that they can have enough knowledge of what are entails and they can be part of the negotiation for proper benefit for that towns”.
Speaking about gender inequality in the industry in Nigeria, with population skewed against women, Umesi added: “About 54,154 women are in the sector in South Africa. We don’t have up to 50,000 in Nigeria despite our population”, he said.