THUR, JULY 16 2020-theG&BJournal-President Muhammadu Buhari was today at the State House Abuja, presented with a cheque by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, for the purchase of Nigeria’s first locally mined, processed and Standardized Gold, valued at N268.608, 236 million. The Cheque was received on behalf of the President by Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari.
The presentation was made during the launch of the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) by the President, an initiative that effectively opened a new external reserves window for the country.
In other words, the CBN will be able to boost external reserves with Naira when it purchases the mined, processed and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative.
The Federal Government in a statement confirmed that the Gold is processed according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) standards required for the use of gold as a reserve instrument by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to the statement, this milestone is the culmination of 24 months of intense efforts between the Solid Minerals Development Fund, Kebbi and Osun States Government, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning under a Steering Committee led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
‘’This laudable initiative will help support our efforts at enabling the creation of jobs for Nigerians, diversifying our revenue base, and in improving our foreign exchange reserves,’’ President Buhari said during Gold Bar presentation. The President reckons that the initiative will add close to 250, 000 jobs from improved gold mining operations.
‘’Improving mining operation could lead to the generation of over $500 million annually in royalties and taxes,’’ the President said.
He said the launch of PAGMI initiative is well timed ‘’when one considers the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and indeed on the Nigerian Economy.’’
‘’Enabling investments in the Solid Mineral sector, is a key part of the government’s economic diversification program. Given our current estimated gold reserves of over 200 million ounces, most of which have not been exploited, developing sustainable programs that will catalyse increased investment in the extraction and refining of gold sourced from mines in Nigeria, is indeed vital,’’ the President said.
He noted that Nigeria lost an estimated $3 billion between 2012 and 2018 due to illegal smuggling of gold.
‘’With the implementation of the PAGMI scheme which will result in the set-up of accredited gold buying centres, across key mining areas, artisanal miners and SMEs engaged in the mining will be able to capture the value of their work.’’
The PAGMI has been designed to integrate social, environmental, health and safety, economic, commercial, and technical considerations, into its implementation, and as a broader strategy to address the structural and institutional factors such as rural poverty, lack of alternative livelihoods, and difficulties in meeting legal and regulatory requirements that tend to push artisanal gold mining operators deeper into the informal economy.