FG, BoI begin disbursement of N5b to artisanal miners

The Federal Government in conjunction with the Bank of Industry (BoI) has commenced the disbursement of the N5 billion Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners (ASM) Financing Support Fund established in 2017.

Recall that in an effort to boost the sector, the Federal Ministry of Minerals and Steel Development made available N2.5 billion while the BoI matched it with another N2.5 billion counterpart funding to support artisanal miners upgrade their processes.

At an orientation forum in Abuja for the miners jointly organised by the Ministry and the BOI, the Minister of Minerals and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, said a total of 138 applications were received as of September 30, 2020.

He said 13 loan applications amounting to N1.08 billion while N311 million has been disbursed as of September 30, 2020.

He said: “This disbursement is, however, low when compared to the total applications received. And this is because many applicants did not meet the necessary but stringent requirements stipulated by the Bank.

“I wish to inform you that we are working assiduously to ensure that the difficulties inherent in accessing the funds are removed. In this regard, we are developing a unique and favourable template for the disbursement of the fund. This includes equipment-leasing and hire-purchase facilities. We are of the belief that the new template, when fully operational, would spur enormous growth in the sector.”

He told the miners that one of the core pillars of President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policy is the repositioning of the mining sector as a way of diversifying the economy to create wealth and jobs, increase contribution to GDP and expand the range of economic opportunities available to Nigerians.

“Mining in Nigeria is still largely artisanal, which is why the ministry created a department called Artisanal and Small-scale Mining to provide institutional support for artisanal miners who form the bulk of the operators and manpower in the sector. Through the department, we have continuously engaged all stakeholders to ensure the formalisation of the artisanal miners into cooperatives for easier management and access to financial support and commodity markets.”

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