Minister of Mines and Steel Development Loan up to ₦2m to Small Scale Businesses.

Small-scale businesses in the mining sector can benefit from a loan scheme initiated by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite.

The scheme aims to boost the productivity and competitiveness of artisanal and small-scale miners in Nigeria.

Adegbite revealed this while inspecting the Gemstones Market’s ongoing development in Ojoo, Akinyele Local Government Area, Oyo State, and he encouraged miners to organize into cooperative organizations to meet the requirements and be eligible for the loans that the government will arrange.

According to the Minister, the loan facility ranges from N2 million to N100 million, depending on the size and needs of the business.

The loan has a repayment period of 15 years and an interest rate of five per cent annually. The miners must form cooperative groups and register with the ministry to access the loan.

A loan of N2 million and below requires only a guarantor, while a loan above N2 million requires collateral.

He stated that some people might not be able to afford access to money because of collateral.

He advised that it decreases so that anyone needing a small loan of less than N2 million can obtain one without the necessity for collateral as long as they have a civil service guarantor at least level 14.

How to Access the Loan Scheme for Small-Scale Miners

You need to follow these steps:

  • Register your mining cooperative with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and obtain a registration certificate.
  • Prepare a business plan and a feasibility study for your mining project, showing the amount of loan you need, the purpose of the loan, the expected revenue and profit, and the repayment plan.
  • Open a bank account with a commercial bank and maintain a six-month transaction history.
  • Apply for the loan through the Bank of Industry, providing the required documents, such as your registration certificate, business plan, feasibility study, bank statement, guarantor’s letter, and collateral (if applicable).
  • Wait for the approval of your loan application by the Bank of Industry and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
  • Receive the loan disbursement and use it for your mining activities according to the terms and conditions of the loan agreement.

Adegbite explained the purpose of the market while he was at the location of its continuing construction.

He stated that gemstones would be graded, sorted, recognized, cut, polished, and ready to be set into jewellery.

He also made mention of the capacity building of persons in the gemstones and jewellery industry is ongoing in Abuja, and most of them would move into the market in Ibadan, including the Gold Souk in Kano, since they would be engaged in jewellery and gemstones production for local and international markets.

The Minister claims that the Federal Government’s mineral cluster projects in the six geopolitical zones are an attempt to attract investors to the nation’s solid minerals industry. In addition, the facilities would create an environment that would facilitate conducting business.

He said investors would also invest in the processing of minerals but made it clear that the government would not be involved in running the facilities.

After these projects are finished, they are looking at the Public Private Partnership (PPP) system, where they have plant and facility management systems in place to oversee these projects.

The government will be consulted when necessary, but they don’t want it to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the six clusters.

“It’s going to be a win-win situation for everyone involved; whoever manages any of the projects will profit, and the government will benefit as well and also enhance the value of what is produced in that particular neighbourhood,” stated Adegbite, adding that sustainability is still crucial to the projects’ operation.

Before this, Buhari’s administration was praised by Dele Ayanleke, the general secretary of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), for creating six regional mineral processing clusters.

Ayanleke also voiced hope that these initiatives would succeed and alter the industry’s perception, particularly concerning the nation’s small-scale and artisanal miners.

He continued that they would also increase confidence, increase productivity, and deter the export of raw ore.

He urged miners to benefit from the five per cent interest rate on the Federal Government’s accessible lending facilities.

They could acquire the mining equipment and other necessary supplies for easy operation and business.

Some minerals that small-scale businesses can explore include gold, gemstones, limestone, iron ore, lead, zinc, and coal.

The Minister urged the miners to adhere to the industry’s best practices and standards and comply with the environmental and social regulations.

He also assured them of the government’s support and partnership in achieving their goals.

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