From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has called on mining companies to integrate local communities into their operations, in order to foster good relations between host communities and resident companies.
The minister, who was on a facility tour of Multiverse Mining and Exploration Company’s mines in Nasarawa, also enjoined community youths at the mining location to take whatever opportunities the company offered, admonishing them to be hard working and to shun criminal activities.
The Executive Director, Multiverse Nigeria Limited, Ayo Oluwasusi, earlier in his address said the company has employed over 400 Nigerians, 95 of which he said are from the host community. He also indicated that the company had invested about 50 million dollars in the sector.
He said the company has ensured compliance with mining laws and has never defaulted in royalty payments to the federal government as well as levies to the community. He added that the company is prioritising transfer of technology to Nigerians.
Multiverse Nigeria Limited mines lead and zinc in Nasarawa State and is the only mining company quoted on the Nigeria Stock by Exchange.The company is currently in partnership agreements with China’s Anhui Synee Mining Co Ltd Hefei for the mining of lead and zinc ores at its Abuni mine site in Awe, Nasarawa State.
Ayodele Oluwasusi said that the company, in fulfilment of its community development agreement, had built a palace for the head of the community and had constructed five borehole projects to provide potable water for the members of the community. ‘We have renovated the community primary school to make learning conducive for children of the community,’ he said.
Adegbite in the last month has been on a tour of several mining and steel companies across the country to lend support to them and to inspect their level of work, as the sector has been given the mandate to diversify the economy, generate revenue for the federal government and to create jobs.
Adegbite, during his tour of these companies, unveiled some of the incentives the federal government has for the sector .
The ministry has provided a number of incentives to businesses and investors to spur growth in the sector. Some of the incentives include: waiver on Customs and import duties for 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 . Capital allowances of up to 95% of qualifying capital expenditure. Deductibility of Environmental Costs (money meant for environmental remediation will be tax free) and 100% ownership of mineral properties.
Recently, during his tour of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, in Warri, Delta State, the miinister said that Nigeria’s steel industry, when fully developed, would drive job growth in the economy, while he rallied the country’s steel producers 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.’
Adegbite also rallied the steel producer to support the metallurgical Industry bill, that 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 market.
‘Government is willing to do everything to support the industry. That’s 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 minister said.
Meanwhile, during his facility tour of Segilola Gold Project in Osun State, the minister indicated that the federal government is poised to support mining company to grow the economy and to create jobs for its citizens. ‘We want to make Nigeria a major gold producing hub in Africa and this is why the administration of president Buhari has given so much support to this sector to ensure that we diversify our economy away from oil,’ he stated.