High hopes as FG commissions online mineral licensing operations

Engr Simon Nkom, Director General, Mining Cadastre Office

The digitalization of the mineral licensing operations of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) is a landmark achievement that will trigger paradigm shift in the accessibility of prospective investors to mining permits and licenses issued by the Office, the Director General of the MCO, Engr. Simon Nkom has said, adding that by simplifying the application processes, the eMC+ will facilitate mining investments and contribute to the realization of the set goal of economic diversification.

The Director General, who made the disclosure while fielding questions from newsmen at the 2022 Nigeria Mining Week said the development is a significant milestone in efforts of government to diversify the Nigerian economy, stating that the migration to electronic mining cadastre affords investors the opportunity of applying for licenses from wherever they may be.

It comes with a lot of hope for the sector, he said, adding that it would enable investors to access requisite information and mining licenses from their respective country of residence without having to face the challenges of travelling to Nigeria.

Nkom said the migration to online cadastre system will trigger investment growth in the interest of economic development.

The eMC+ was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari while declaring open the 2022 and 6th editions of the Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja.

The Director  General described eMC+ as a strategy developed as part of the office’s upgrade from analogue to digital to enable the office to carry out its mandate of mineral title administration more efficiently and transparently such that revenue leakages through the activities of illegal miners would be reduced.

The Director General said: “The Mining Cadastre Office has migrated to an online system, which simply means that you can stay in any part of the world, you can even use your phone to access this system and by the time you have access to the mining cadastre information, business starts from there in a more transparent manner.”

“We are talking about ease of doing business. We are talking about somebody in Australia or elsewhere around the world that does not really need to spend two days or three days to come to Nigeria to start doing mining business, he can now do so anywhere he is.

“In this way, it will now encourage foreign investment into the sector. More people will be able to now see the transparency and choose Nigeria as their mining destination.

The DG who confessed that he felt so fulfilled by the launch of the eMC+ considering the fact that it has come to challenge him to do more by making his work easier, said that his office is not a chore revenue-generating entity, the revenue generated by the activities of the office in recent years had continued to witness astronomical increase year by year even in spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.

“I want to tell you that astronomically over the past years, we have had to surpass each year’s revenue irrespective of even the challenges of the pandemic. From 2019 We had an 86% increase in revenue in 2021,” he said.

According to Engineer Nkom, when the Minster of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite was quoting the revenue figure from the Ministry in 2021 as over N7 billion, the Mining Cadastre Office was able to contribute over N4 billion.

“So we hope at the end of the day, we’ll continue to be able to add an adequate volume of revenue and even remove the aspect of illegal activities. So there are quite a number of benefits attached to this development, he said.

Also speaking, Mr Francisco Walaner, a former task team leader to Nigeria from the World Bank, who is so the International Peer Reviewer of the eMC+ who corroborated what the DG said explained that theirs as peer reviewers is an independent review of all the workings of the system in order to ensure that it is operational as expected.

“We need to make sure that we are fulfilling international standards and we are ready to attract investors in their own country to look at what is available and start to take decisions, he added.”


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