I would like to start by congratulating PAGMI’s Steering Committee and Management Team under the leadership of the Chief of Staff as Chairman and the Executive Governor of Kebbi State as Vice-Chairman of the Steering Committee for doing such a good job.
The Responsible Mining Framework you have presented will result in an effective and transparent gold supply chain and demonstrate efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, human rights abuses, and respect for the environment. I am particularly pleased with the coordination and integration aspects of the document.
I want to commend the Central Bank Governor for his support of the Solid Minerals Development Fund in the delivery of PAGMI, particularly in the commitment to paying a fair price to support the artisanal miners and providing a market for PAGMI. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning is to be commended also for her support in increasing the capitalization of PAGMI through the already approved facility.
The PAGMI Management Team should now develop innovative ways to move PAGMI to the next level to ensure the Nigerian mining story goes beyond artisanal and small-scale mining.
I support the Steering Committee’s target of aggregating 3-5 tons of gold over the next 12 months, as this will deliver tremendous fiscal and economic benefits to the nation. The Solid Minerals Development Fund should work with all relevant Government agencies to identify the support and funding needed to deliver on this aggregation target.
Now that you have successfully delivered a pilot scheme in Kebbi State, it is time to roll out and expand sustainably across other Sates. The Government is committed to providing all the necessary support required.
Further to the ongoing implementation of PAGMI, I urge the Solid Minerals Development Fund to fast-track the delivery of other directives to support the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. Everyone should conclude the ongoing assignment of recommending a portion of accruals to be dedicated to the Solid Minerals Development Fund, as I have earlier directed.
The dedication of a portion of accruals to create a sustainable income stream for the Solid Minerals Development Fund is essential to delivering the mandates assigned to the Fund. The development of a sustainable funding stream for the Fund will conclude the implementation of the Fund’s Establishment Act, which is a key focus area for this Administration.
This initiative is of great pride to me because through our intervention we can reach hardworking Nigerians in the field, toiling and in the quarries under the sun trying to earn an honest living.
We have been able to protect them from clutches of those who exploit their hard labor, while simultaneously bringing them into the value chain to earn improved income from their hard work. I expect a six-month progress report that will clearly show significant progress by scaling up the program from its current pilot stage.
Thank You and may GOD bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.