21 December 2016, Abuja – After constructing 10 prototype Minerals Buying Centres across the country, the Federal Government has started ceding the centres to state governments in a bid to reduce friction between the two tiers of government on mining activities.
The centres are to serve as standardisation centres to enable artisanal and small miners’ cooperatives and operators receive fair premiums for their labour as they concentrate on production.
The 1999 Constitution made mining an exclusive prerogative of the Federal Government and this has been causing friction between the two tiers of government and has hampered the development of the mining sector.
However, in a move to reduce the tension, the Federal Government has said that it will use administrative procedures to get all the parties, including state governments, involved in the development of the sector.
To give action to this, it handed over one of the 10 mineral buying centres to the Sokoto State Government on Tuesday after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the subnational government in Sokoto.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government, while Governor Aminu Tambuwal signed on behalf of the state government.
Fayemi said with the renewed determination to strengthen collaborative efforts with state governments in natural resource governance, the prototype minerals buying centres were being ceded to the state governments.
He said Zamfara, Benue, Ebonyi and Sokoto states had expressed interest and the centres were being transferred to them.
The minister added that the measure would go a long way in improving the productivity of mining operators who were now empowered to concentrate on the production aspect of the value chain.
Another measure that the Federal Government has adopted to urge the state governments to get involved in the development of the mining sector, according to Fayemi, is encouraging them to form special purpose vehicles with other stakeholders to operate the mines.