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.
Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development. said this when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) flagship Forum on Tuesday in Abuja.
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.
“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 N10 million, which was the minimum.
“So, they were excluded because you say minimum N10 million, maximum N100 million and you know the way banking is, if you want to take N10 million from a bank, the collateral is times two 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 N10 million, 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 N200 million sub-fund, it could give a maximum of two million Naira to individuals and minimum of N200,000.
“A lot of these lower people who need small money are already approaching the bank for that.
“It is not your share of the national cake, it is something to help you, it is the cheapest fund in Nigeria today at five per cent.
“So, if it works out, yes we can expand that and maybe make more money available up to half a billion, but we need to be careful.
“The average Nigerian thinks that this is my share of the national cake, so when they go to borrow such funds they do not want to pay back.”(NAN)