The Global Rights Nigeria has advised the Federal Government to formalise the activities of artisanal miners nationwide as a strategic option of optimizing the sector’s contributions to national economic growth.

The Executive Director, Global Rights, Ms Abiodun Baiyewu, gave the advice at the stakeholders’ engagement on the development and implementation of an effective fiscal regime in Nigeria’s Artisanal/small-scale mining sector held in Abuja.

Baiyewu explained that the government must be willing to incentivise the formalisation of artisanal miners otherwise they will keep going undergoing, thereby posing a lot of security, social and environmental challenges.

This is even as she pointed out that the same time, the mining host communities were bearing the burden of the environmental devastation and infrastructural strain of artisanal mining.

According to her, with over 80 per cent of mining in the country carried out by small miners, it was time the government begin to build a fiscal regime framework that for them.

Speaking at the forum, the Director Communication, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Orji Ogbonaya Orji, stressed that the desired revenue can be generated from artisanal miners if they are well organised.

He pointed out that instead of the government sanctioning artisanal miners, they should be encouraged to come together and formalise their businesses.

The NEITI spokesman advised: “We recommend that instead of chasing them we need to engage them in robust discussion, we need to organise them because some of them are willing to engage in legitimate business. And because we treat them as illegal miners they create all sorts of problems including environmental problems.

“We need to cover them with proactive legislative legislation that will define who is doing what and how,” he added.

He called on the government to take advantage of the huge potential of the sector by implementing an effective fiscal regime for the small time miners.

In his remarks, the National President, Alhaji Sani Shehu, pointed out that there was the need for the government to support small miners with technology to enable them contribute to the economic development of the country.

While noting the challenge posed by lack of data for artisanal miners remains a challenge, Shehu welcomed the administration of a fiscal regime for small miners saying it would good a look way to boost the economy.

“We need to provide simple technology that miners in other parts of West Africa use, where they are integrated and given the necessary support so that their fiscal contribution can be captured,” he said.