By Giwa SHILE
The Miners Association of Nigeria says the Federal Government has agreed to involve its executives in the disbursement of the N5billion mining intervention fund.
The President of the association, Mr Sani Shehu, disclosed this on Sunday in Abuja.
He said this measure by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) would enhance the effectiveness of the disbursement to genuine miners across the country.
It would be recalled that miners executives have complained of not having access to the fund due to stringent conditions by Bank of Industry (BoI)saddled with the disbursement of the fund.
The MMSD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the BoI in August 2017 to give N5billion intervention fund to Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners across the country.
The intervention fund was a joint venture between the BoI that provided N2.5billion and MMSD that provided another N2.5billion.
This effort was a plan by the Federal Government through the MMSD to rejuvenate the mining sector as a means of economic diversification.
The loans would be available to certified mining industry participants at a single digit interest rate of five per cent per annum.
The aim of the intervention was to address lack of fund which was a major factor militating against artisanal and small scale miners operations.
He said that the ministry had also discovered some reasons why miners were not able to access the fund.
“Government has given us the opportunity to be involved, identify and also to guarantee our members to access the fund.
“We are happy with this arrangement, we will soon come up with a tripartite arrangement with the ministry and Bank of Industry which the fund is domiciled with to ensure miners access the funds on time,” he said.
According to Shehu, all conditions required for accessing the fund remains valid, adding that the association would now serve as guarantor for its members.
“We will put mechanism in place to assess and guarantee our members that are worthy of the loan to avoid the association’s name being tarnished.