Nigeria’s Mineral Licensing Agency – the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) says Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) which is made up of prominent investors, can create wealth through mining investment and grow the Nigerian economy by taking advantage of current reforms at the MCO. The Director General of the MCO, Engr Simon Nkom said the automation and decentralization of mineral licensing process is one of the ways by which the MCO is committed to the Federal Government’s policy of Ease of Doing Business.
Francis Kadiri reports.
The importance of synergy between the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) and Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) cannot be overemphasized especially as the quest for domestic and foreign investment in mining is a major emphasis of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, a strategy that is expected to trigger growth of the mining sector while creating jobs for Nigerians while developing the economy.
As an eminent assembly of technocrats who have the social and financial wherewithal to undertake capital intensive enterprises in mining, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is popularly regarded as an essential team-player in the efforts of government to attract sustainable investments to the mining sector, an effort which campaign has began to yield desired results as local and foreign investors are already signifying interest in the sector.
The Director General, Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), Engr Simon Nkom who spoke at a recent investment forum organized by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said the partnership between ACCI and the MCO, which is the only federal establishment responsible for the processing of mineral title application, issuance and administration of licenses and permits, will encourage better understanding and unified sense of operation among businesses and business organizations.
He noted that the collaboration will protect the interest of commerce and industry toward enhancing business stability.
Nkom explained that the ACCI has a responsibility to organize businesses and improve the economic atmosphere of the mining sector, assuring that the MCO will adopt workable strategies that will be productive to the sector and strengthen ease of doing business.
While revealing that MCO has undergone series of reforms over the years, Engr. Nkom said currently, the Mining Cadastre Office has embraced automaton, a methodology by which applications for mineral titles are submitted and evaluated with little or no human interference. This, the Director General said is a way by which the MCO commits to the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business Policy. He said it is a deliberate policy to reduce the burden associated with distance for mineral title applicants.
In a separate encounter, Director General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr Garba Abdulrazaq said combined efforts of various stakeholders to attract local and foreign investment to the mining sector is yielding desired results, stating that the NGSA has continued to receive increasing number of enquiries on solid minerals in Nigeria, from global investors.
In her remarks, the Director General, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Victoria Akai said the ACCI has over the years looked for an avenue to key into the economic diversification drive of the federal government.
She described the Mining Cadastre Day at the 2021 International Trade Fair organized by the ACCI as “a threshold for the organization,” while expressing gratitude and optimism that the ACCI has found a reliable partner in MCO as well as secured the endorsement of critical stakeholders, including the MCO.
Akai said: “The Director General of the Mining Cadastre Office has promised us that licensing is going to be much easier for businesses. We are very excited about this partnership.”
“This is like the beginning of a new partnership for us, another level for it. Right here, we have been able to establish the Mining Trade Group, Gemstone Marketers and Miners Association.
“The icing on the cake is that the Mining Cadastre Office has come. We are excited, we are grateful, we look forward to better relationship with the MCO and we look forward to a better mining industry.
According to ACCI Director General, “The Mining Cadastre Office is now a part and parcel of ACCI and ACCI is now part and parcel of Mining Cadastre Office. There is no how the government can work independently. The private sector and the government are to work together for progress” she noted.
Akai said the ACCI has remained a strong advocate of ease of doing business, adding that despite the difficult business environment, the exhibitors at the trade fair turned out in good numbers. She said events of such nature injects funds into the economy, urging the government to do more in enhancing the ease of doing business.
Also speaking at the forum, the Managing Director/CEO, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba expressed satisfaction over the MCO and ACCI partnership.
The NEPZA Boss who was represented by his Special Assistant, Mr. Okey Odukwe, said that mining plays an important role in the existence of humans, adding that the sector deserves any attention it can muster to position it for effective performance.
He reiterated the readiness of NEPZA to lend the needed support to the diversification of the nation’s economy in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari. He said: “For this, there is no gainsaying that every great and prosperous nation of the world today can trace its greatness to the development of this all-important sector. From automobile, construction, medical, agriculture etc., mining has remained the critical source of input materials to these sectors.
“Nigeria is endowed with vast deposit of diverse mineral resources of high value ranging from industrial metals and precious stones of different kinds spread across the 36 states including the FCT. However, these minerals are not exploited maximally due to poor infrastructure for extraction, processing and transportation. At best, the industry is largely artisanal and output very low in relation to the amount of deposit in the country.
“At the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, we are keen on the economic diversification agenda of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and have placed priority on development of the mining industry through Special Economic Zones Scheme. I can assure that in no distant time the country will start reaping the benefits of the initiative of Federal Government” Prof. Adesugba said.