OrderPaperToday – Lawmaker representing Degema/Bonny federal constituency of Rivers State in the House of Representatives, Mr. Farah Dagogo has described the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMDI) as a wild goose chase designed to favour a particular part of the country.
Mr. Dagogo said the whole idea behind PAGMDI was just to take away attention to enable miners be fully responsible for the sale and distribution of their natural resources in their areas unlike what is obtainable in the southern part of the country.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari recently launched the scheme in Abuja via a virtual ceremony.
Majority of gold deposit in Nigeria is found in the North, while a larger percentage of crude oil and gas is found in the South.
The President had said the PAGMDI scheme would help reshape gold mining activities in Nigeria and prevent loss of value to illegal miners and smugglers.
But the lawmaker in a statement issued Friday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ibrahim Lawal, noted that by the structure of PAGMDI, where gold is found, the scheme is 100% derivation revenue, while the oil and gas producing communities in the South are getting just 13% derivation revenue.
According to Dagogo: “The whole PAGMDI scheme is a smokescreen for resource control. It is all semantics designed to deceive Nigerians but heavily skewed to favour a particular section of the country. The Nigerian Government had at several times denied the South-south, the South-east and the South-west the right to control their resources, why then will you allow the North to control its resources through the cover of PAGMDI?”
He quoted the president to have said that “with the implementation of the PAGDMI scheme which will result in the set-up of accredited gold-buying centres across key mining areas, artisanal miners and SMEs engaged in mining will be able to capture the value of their work.These operations will help in diversifying our revenue base. The sale of gold by artisanal miners and SMEs at accredited centers will help the government in realizing royalties and taxes from the sale of these assets.”
The lawmaker however wondered why the federal government has not extended similar measure to the South-south and other regions considering the speed at which PAGMDI has become operational in less than 10 months after it was set up.
“Now that the North is in control of its resources as established by PAGMDI, the South South and other regions with natural resources are entitled to control theirs too. The difference is very clear, what we have in the South is 13% derivation revenue whereas in the North with PAGMDI, it is 100% derivation revenue. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” he stressed.