The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the Federal Government not to go ahead with its plan to ban mining activities in the country, adding that the government should rather differentiate the activities of licensed mining companies from those of the bandits and terrorists.
The Chamber, while reacting to the proposed government’s ban on mining activities in the country, in a statement issued over the weekend, and signed by its Director General, Dr Chinyere Almona, stated that going ahead with the ban would have unintended consequences on the mining sector and the nation’s economy.
While acknowledging the need to fight terrorism and banditry, as intended with the proposed ban, the business advocacy group however argued that it would be wrong on the part of the Federal Government to label all miners in the country as being the sources of funds for banditry and terrorism in the country.
The Chamber stated that the recent announcement had further validated to foreign and local investors the non-suitability of the nation’s mining sector for their investments.
It also added that while implementing the ban would also put to risk mining projects across the country, being financed by existing local investors, with loan facilities, it would further damage the diversification plans of the federal government to pursue a non-oil exports-based economy.
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“Duly licensed mining companies should be clearly differentiated and distanced from the activities of bandits and terrorists whom the National Security Council has based their proposal upon. We need to enforce all the necessary laws and policies to guarantee the security of local and foreign investments in the solid minerals sector as well as ensure that investors get the best returns on their investments,” the Chamber added.
The business advocacy group called on the federal government to empower the solid minerals and mining sector through the deployment of the Geographic Information System (GIS), automation of application and processing of mining licenses, leases and permits all through a one-stop-shop platform, adding that the Integrated Automation and Interactive Solid Minerals Portal (IAISMP) should be made to serve as a go-to portal for real-time information on the sector.
“We cannot afford to jeopardise the fortunes of mining in Nigeria with a blanket ban on mining activities when we should be able to isolate illegal miners and demobilise criminals from mining sites. We urge the government to reconsider ways to demobilise criminal activities from mining sites and create a safe environment where mining can thrive,” the Chamber argued.
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Proposed ban on mining activities: Differentiate licensed miners from bandits, LCCI urges FG