The Federal Government has enjoined the Kogi State Government to take full advantage of Solid Minerals Funds which it established to assist states with advantage in the sector.
The minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite made the statement on Tuesday in Abuja when he played host to the Kogi State Commissioner Solid Minerals and Natural Resources, Engr Abubakar Bashir Muhammed.
The Minister, who used the occasion to praise the foresight of the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello in creating the ministry said it would go a long way in assisting the state to improve its Internally Generated Revenue and create wealth necessary for the development of the State.
He stated that the decision of Governor Bello in that direction showed that he was ready for the reality of economic diversification, adding that such was also necessary if the country was to move forward.
Arc Adegbite described Governor Bello as a visionary leader with commitment to infrastructural development and other steps that would enhance the socioeconomic growth of Kogi State.
He advised the state to get exploration licences of multiple minerals to make Kogi key in the industry, stressing that all states needed to find ways to improve their IGR through taking full advantage of their areas of advantage.
The Solid Mineral Fund, the minister informed his guests, was the sums appropriated for solid minerals development under any Federal Law; sums appropriated for solid minerals development under the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS); funds received as grants, donations, foreign loans, bonds and long term swaps; and sums appropriated to it by the Federal Government’s budgetary allocation.
“The Fund is managed by a board whose chairman is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Minister of Solid Minerals Development whilst an executive secretary appointed by the Minister shall be responsible for the day to day administration of the Fund under the direction of the board.”
Furthermore, the CBN is expected to act as custodian of the Fund. Ultimately, it is expected that the SMDF provide funding for long term exploration and exploitation and thereby culminating in the development of the Nigerian solid minerals sector at large.
As the Mining Act did not clearly state the procedure and modalities for accessing the Fund, it is expected that the Minister will issue guidelines in this regard. Whilst the Mining Act, which introduced the Fund was enacted in 2007, the management board of the Fund was not inaugurated until the year 2013.
The Commissioner was accompanied on the visit by the Managing Director, Kogi State Solid Minerals Processing Company Ltd, Engr Mohammed Lawal and Engr Aliyu Ibrahim Bello who is a Consultant to the Ministry.