Considering the success of the N200 million fund disbursement to artisanal miners, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development may expand the programme to benefit more small scale miners.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, said this when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) flagship Forum on Tuesday in Abuja.
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Adegbite said that the over N3.2 billion mining intervention fund which was domiciled with the Bank of Industry (BOI) was an intervention by the Federal Government to boost mining activities in Nigeria.
He said that the initial fund was N2.5bn but it had accrued interest in the bank and N200 million out of the interest was disbursed as loan to small scale and artisanal miners.
“When it was set up, it was that from a minimum of N10m to N100m maximum people can access at five per cent interest rates, and we have had some success stories.
“What we now realised was that there were a lot of small others, artisanal miners, small scale miners, who do not even need up to N10m, which was the minimum.
“So, they were excluded because you say minimum N10m, maximum N100m and you know the way banking is, if you want to take N10m from a bank, the collateral is double minimum.
“But there are some artisanal miners there that all they want to enhance their activity is to buy a water pump, so that they have water to wash their oars, so they can bring out what they need a bump of N500,000, that is all they need someone to buy for them.
“We excluded them by saying that the minimum you can borrow is N10m, so we set up another scheme, under that.”
According to him, some miners could not access the fund because of the stringent conditions that the bank put in, but with the N200m sub-fund, it could give a maximum of N2m to individuals and a minimum of N200,000.
He, however, said that the only condition attached was to get a guarantor on Grade Level 14 in the Federal Civil Service or its equivalent in the services.
“This is to allow all those lower end people to benefit from this new scheme that I designed when I realised what was going on and it is catching on.” (NAN)