President Muhammadu Buhari has said improved gold mining operations in the country will generate no fewer than 250,000 jobs and over $500m annually in royalties and taxes to the Federal Government.
The President disclosed this at the official presentation of locally mined gold bars by the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMDI), where he also reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to establishing gold refineries in Nigeria.
He said this laudable initiative would support efforts at the creation of jobs for Nigerians, diversifying the revenue base, and improving foreign exchange reserves.
Reiterating the determination of the Federal Government to combat illegal mining activities, the President expressed concern that Nigeria lost close to $3b from 2012 – 2018 due to illegal smuggling of gold.
President Buhari noted that in addition to the potential revenue gains that will occur from mining operations, efforts are being made to enable the setting up of gold refineries in Nigeria.
He expressed optimism that these measures would lead to the creation of additional job opportunities across the gold value chain and also help the nation capture the additional value created from the gold refining process.
On environmental degradation, President Buhari pledged that Government would pay close attention to safety and environmental measures to protect workers and the environment.
The Nigerian leader also used the occasion to commend all stakeholders involved in the PAGMI for their painstaking efforts in developing a programme aimed at improved sourcing and refining of high-quality gold bars, derived from minefields in Nigeria.