‘2016 Budget Will Aid Small Scale Miners’

The President, Miners Association of Nigeria, Sani Shehu, on Tuesday in Abuja said the 2016 budget would aid artisanal miners.

Shehu told the News Agency of Nigeria that the provision of the budget on solid minerals was ``long expected by the miners’ association’’.

``It is the best step to enhance operations based on international best practices,'' he said.

Shehu said that greater amount of Nigerian miners were artisanal and small scale operators, adding that they conducted exploration of minerals without adequate equipment.

``The artisanal miners are poor and they are looking up to the Buhari’s administration to alleviate their poverty.

``Now that Mr President wants to formalise the artisanal miners in line with the best international practices, which emphasises mining safety, health and safe environment, we are happy.

``That what we are anticipating is being actualised.

``We are assuring Mr President that our association will assist him to actualise his promises; on behalf of mining operators. We appreciate the President's commitment to this sector,’’ he said.

Shehu expressed confidence that the 2016 budget would affect the small, artisanal and foreign operators positively.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Kayode Fayemi, in his inaugural speech, said President Buhari would diversify the economy to minimise over-dependence on oil.

The President had promised to encourage reduction of tax rates for smaller businesses as well as subsidised funding for priority sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals.

Buhari said in the 2016 budget that government would empower and create an enabling environment for miners to operate in a safe, secure and humane environment.