Miners under the aegis of the Nigerian Chambers of Mining (NCM) have lauded the licencing reforms initiated by the Federal Government to boost the development of the sector.
The chamber’s president, Alhaji Sheu Sani, made this known during his speech at the Mining Cadastre Day held at the ongoing 16th Abuja International Trade Fair organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
He said the various reforms instituted by the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) have met the expectations of sector stakeholders.
Sani, who was also a former President of the Association of Nigerian Miners said most changes miners advocated for – such as the creation of zonal offices – have been implemented.
According to him, the operationalisation of the zonal offices has eased the burden of miners across the nation, even as he also highlighted digitalisation of the licencing process as another laudable step stakeholders are happy with.
“We are happy with the ongoing reforms and we appreciate the government’s response to decades of advocacy. The cadastre has grown to be a reliable partner for miners by showing that it recognises her new mandate in the race of national shift to the non-oil sector,” he said.
Similarly, the director-general of the Mining Cadastre Office, Engr. Obadiah Nkom, said his office has expanded the ongoing reform to ease access to seamless mining operations, adding that the reforms are meant to enhance transparency, accessibility and standardisation of the licencing process.
“We are innovating on various fronts. Besides previous landmark initiatives, a current project we are implementing is the thematic mapping of areas restricted from mining activities for integration into the Nigerian Mining Cadastre digital database. We hope to have a glance at the map of areas where mining activities are not permitted for several reasons,” he said.
He also said the initiative will enable the licencing authority to know restricted areas for which mining licences cannot and should not be issued.
“The thematic mapping will serve both the authority and the investing public,” he said.
Nkom noted further that the MCO is expanding its digitalisation project, citing the establishment of a standard system of e-recording and e-archiving of licencing records in line with new system upgrade.
“We are creating a standard system of e-filling of our records to ensure the much-needed digitisation of operations which will ease the burden for all stakeholders and facilitate foreign direct investment into the country’s mineral sector,” he stated.
In his remarks, the ACCI vice president, mines, Dr. Johnson Anene, called on the MCO to grant licences to more members of the chamber, as the process of obtaining licences has not been easy – even though it has eased up since the coming of the new DG.
Earlier, the ACCI director-general, Victoria Akai, who welcomed the MCO team, said the presence of the mining licencing office is a major addition to the list of frontline Federal and private agencies that have made participation at the Abuja Trade Fair a priority.
She urged the DG MCO to put this trade fair on the annual list of events it must attend.
“Earlier in the year, the DG participated in our webinar series focusing on the mining sector. The report of the webinar is today reproduced for further circulation and action by relevant agencies.
“Licensing is at the heart of the mining sector; the positive changes and reforms you have introduced account for the current boost in mining activities across the country. I am particularly elated by the digitalization of the licensing process. This will surely expand direct investment in the nation’s mining sector,” she said.
A statement by the ACCI media/strategy officer, Olayemi John-Mensah, said Akai acknowledged the proactive action of creating zonal offices of the agency to address challenges facing license-holders, adding that action has brought services closer to mining stakeholders across the six geo-political zones of the federation.