President Muhammadu Buhari is set to receive the first gold and silver bars under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative, PAGMI, on Thursday.
Speaking on the development, the Executive Secretary of the Solid Mineral Development Fund, Fatima Umar Shinkafi stated that: “PAGMI is due to present the set of first artisanal mined, responsibly sourced, aggregated, processed and refined gold and silver bars to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari”
According to her, the initiative which commenced in 2019 with a mandate to foster the integration of artisanal mining activities in the country within a legal, economic and institutional framework, will fast track the effort of the administration in achieving economic diversification and create 500,000 new jobs.
“FG could realize an annual average of $150m in taxes, $25m in royalties and $500m accretion to foreign reserves from the integration of artisanal gold mining activities implemented by PAGMI. This will create 500,000 new mining and formalized jobs, leading to the economic upliftment of over one million households”
“It will fast track economic diversification, reduce incidences of lead and mercury poisoning as well as encourage safer mining practices. It will also block economic leakages, tackle economic sabotage and improve on the nation’s reserves.
“The integration aims to provide access to markets for artisanal miners through a National Gold Purchase Program and the deployment of enhanced mining methods at artisanal and small scale mining sites,” Ms Shinkafi said.
While lamenting on the negative economic effects of illegal mining, the executive secretary revealed that “between 2012 and 2018, 97 tons of gold valued at 0ver $3b was illegally smuggled out of Nigeria,” she said.
According to her, the CBN will purchase locally produced gold in naira to boost the nation’s foreign reserves via PAGMI.
Ms Shinkafi further noted that there are 50 gold buying centers across the country that are set to rapidly scale up its activities across the entire mining belt of the country in the next few months.
She also stressed the need for the cooperation of the private sector in the initiative as it plays a crucial role in achieving the set goals.
The Executive Secretary also commended efforts of the steering committee ably led by the Chief of Staff to the President.