Despite the limited access to finance, and illegal artisanal mining activities, federal government has commenced disbursement of N5 billion to artisanal and small-scale miners in the country.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi disclosed at the signing of MOU with Bank of Industry, BOI, for local miners to access the fund, and integrate them into formal sector.
He explained, “We are in the first instance launching a N5 billion fund, with our ministry’s pilot contribution of N2.5 billion, while BOI will support with another N2.5 billion.”
According to him, with the agreement, we appoint the bank as Custodian and manager of the Nigerian Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Financing Support Fund for mining projects.
“The loans would be made available to certified industry participants at a single digit interest rate of 5 percent per annum, which is by far about the most attractive within our jurisdiction”, he added.
The minister further disclosed, the single obligor limit of loans to be granted under the Fund should be from N100, 000 to N10million for artisanal miners, and N10million to N100 million for small-scale miners.
He expressed delight that Solid Minerals Development Fund, SMDF is now spearheading sourcing of a $600million investment fund for the sector, judging, in 2015,out of N1 billion allocated to the ministry, only N352 million was released.
Dr. Fayemi commended BOI, saying, “we consider her dependable partner who share our vision and we trust that it would bring their pedigree to bear on this initiative as foremost specialized bank set up to pursue economic development.”
Responding, the Managing Director/CEO, Bank of Industry [BOI] , Olukayode Pitan called on beneficiaries not to see the grant as free money that could be used for other purposes rather than what it is meant for.
Pitan listed the benefits of the grants to include, that of revenue generation, employment creation and capacity building among others.
According to him, before the grants would be released to the target small scale miners, they must pass through the internal mechanism of the Bank.
The loans, which are expected to be paid within one year has single digit interest rate.