Business

N5bn Mining Intervention Loan: Sadly, No Female Miner Accessed Facility — WIMIN

By NAN

Hon. Janet Adeyemi, the President, Women in Mining Nigeria (WIMIN), an NGO, has alleged that no female Artisanal, Small Scale Miners had benefited from the N5 billion mining intervention loan.

Adeyemi made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

She said that the conditionality attached to the loan by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Bank of Industry (BoI) were too stringent for female miners to access.

NAN recalls that in 2017, both the ministry and BoI had signed an agreement to contribute N2.5 billion each, totaling five billion naira as intervention fund for artisanal miners.

The agreement was signed by Gov. Kayode Fayemi, who was the then minister with officials of BoI.

Adeyemi said that the conditions should be made flexible, if the fund was actually meant for artisanal miners.

“We have tried several times to access the loan but to no avail, we have members who are sufficiently qualified but they were not given because their collateral (houses) were not in the cities.

“One of our members who have her collateral in Benin City, Edo was denied the loan.

“They look for different excuses to prevent our members from accessing the fund, even our male counterparts also complained of the same problem.

“Bureaucracy in Nigeria is too much. I understand the risk associated with the mining sector but there are things that should be worked out,’’ she said.

She said that the American government provided some grants to business owners to help their businesses.

“The Federal Government can do same and monitor the fund.

“If we continue this way, small scale miners that dominate the sector will continue to remain on the same spot without making headway,” she said.

She said that without financial inclusion, women in mining will continue to lag behind in accessing the funds due to the stringent conditions and collateral problems.

NAN also recalls that the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, said that the five billion naira was in the custody of BoI to be disbursed to miners that meet the criteria.

Adegbite said from 2017 till date, the ministry’s N2.5 billion contribution with BoI had generated N1 billion interests, making it N3.5 billion.

“But more than N300 million had been disbursed from the fund to some miners,” he said.

According to him, the purpose of the fund is not to generate interest for the government but to develop the sector.

He said that the loan criteria had been relaxed, adding that artisanal miners only needed a surety, who should be an officer from grade level 14 and above.

NAN also reports that the loan is to be made available at a single-digit interest rate of five per cent.