Miners Blame BoI For Not Disbursing N2.5bn Mining Grant
The Miners Association of Nigeria has blamed the Bank of Industry for the failure to disburse the N2.5bn Solid Minerals Development Fund.
The fund was established in 2016 to help build the capacity of Nigeria’s artisanal and small-scale miners, in line with the Federal Government’s intention to develop the sector.
The BoI was supposed to provide a matching grant of N2.5bn to take the fund to a total of N5bn.
However, about three years after, only N95m – given to a quarry company – had been disbursed from the N2.5bn.
Our correspondent learnt that there were concerns over the inability of the miners to repay the grant.
There were also reports that the information provided by miners who applied for the grant was irregular.
However, speaking with our correspondent in Abuja, President of the Mining Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed, said the ‘rigidity’ on the part of the BoI was responsible for the inability of the miners to access the SMDF.
According to him, the bank made things difficult for the miners.
“For the past two years, the money has been there with the bank; only one person has been able to access part of the money.
“Despite all the efforts being made by the miners to access this money, nothing much has been achieved. The problem comes from the BoI being too rigid and trying to make things too cumbersome for the miners to access it.”
The MAN president disclosed that a proposal suggested by the miners, whereby the association would serve as a guarantor for recipients was jettisoned by the BoI.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, had recently revealed that the Federal Government planned to organise the miners into cooperatives in a bid to effect the disbursement of the fund.