By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, Saturday, urged mining companies to prioritize the welfare of host communities for smooth operations.
Adebgite stated this in a statement signed by Special Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Ayodeji Adeyemi, while on tour of Multiverse Mining and Exploration Company’s mining site in Nasarawa State.
He also stressed the need for synergy between mining companies and their host communities, as both should be seen as critical stakeholders for their peaceful co-existence and mutual benefits.
“We appreciate what Multiverse Mining and Exploration Company is doing and for having faith in the economy. We as regulators would provide the needed support for your operations as you adhere to the provisions of the Mining Act.
“Mining companies are to integrate host communities into their operations and this would foster good relations between the communities and the companies. There would not be violence and any stoppage of operations.
“Also youths in the host communities are to take offers and opportunities from the companies operating in their communities. The companies have provisions for you and make sure there is that understanding for all to benefit.
“We also encourage youths to be hardworking and not to allow bad elements lure you into criminality that would damage your future and create problems for you.”
According to the statement, the Minister in the last one month has been on a tour of several mining and steel companies across the country to lend support to them and to inspect the level of work going on in such, as the sector has been given the mandate to diversify the economy, generate revenue for the government and to create jobs.
It further made it known that the Minister during his tour of these companies unveiled some of the incentives the federal government has for investors and operators in the sector to spur growth in the sector.
Some of the incentives include waiver on Customs and import duties for the plant, machinery, and equipment imported for mining operations; Tax holidays of between three to five years for businesses as applicable; Free transferability of funds and permission to retain and use earned foreign exchange.
Others are Capital allowances of up to 95 per cent of qualifying capital expenditure; Deductibility of Environmental Costs (money meant for environmental remediation will be tax-free) and 100 per cent ownership of mineral properties.
It will be recalled that during his (Adsegbite’s) recent tour of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Warri, Delta State, he said that the nation’s steel industry when fully developed would drive job growth in the economy, while he called on steel producers in the country to go into the production of flat sheet which is vital for the development of the sector.
The minister said ‘For the nation to industrialise, we need to produce flat sheet, which is the ultimate goal of the sector. With flat sheet we can produce many things like engine blocks, vehicle bodies etc’
He also urged them to support the Metallurgical Industry Bill currently before the Council.
According to the Minister, the Bill when enacted into law would assist in establishing programmes that would aid the private sector to operate optimally, producing competitive high-quality products for both local and international markets.
Which he said that “Government is willing to do everything to support the industry and that is why we have proposed a Metallurgical Industrial Bill, which is at the council for approval. When it is approved it will support the industry.
“It will make it a lot easier for you to operate. We would have been empowered by the law to support you. The support we give will have the backing of the law.”
The statement also added that while on a facility tour of Segilola Gold Project, in Osun State, the Minister disclosed that the Federal Government is poised to support mining companies to grow the economy and to create jobs for its citizens.
He said, “We want to make Nigeria a major gold producing hub in Africa and this is why the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has given so much support to this sector to ensure that we diversify our economy away from oil.”