- Govt to Disburse $150m Solid Minerals Grants
The Federal Government has concluded plans for the disbursement of the $150 million World Bank grant to solid mineral sector operators.
Part of the procedures includes vetting applications from operators who applied for the grant, in line with the rules as advertised and published in national dailies.
The procedures are to determine the eligibility of the applicants, examine their impacts on the sector and see whether their purposes for seeking the funds tally with the aspirations of the World Bank to grow economies, among others.
Minister of Solid Minerals Development Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, said making the grant accessible for operators had reached an advanced stage, adding that the grants would be disbursed soon.
He described operators with tangible evidence as those that have proven track records of performance in the sector, while operators at the principal mining areas were those mining strategic minerals.
He said the government wanted operators with tangible evidence of operation as well as those working in principal mining areas to benefit from the facility.
According to him, due process is being followed, in order to ensure that the right operators get the fund.
Oyebode said the government was carrying out investigations to determine the eligibility of those that applied for financial or material assistance, which the World Bank provided the sector in the second quarter of this year.
Oyebode said: “Many people may be wondering, why the grants have not been disbursed to the operators since it was issued by World Bank months ago. The answer is simple. World Bank prides itself as a reputable financial institution that meets the needs of operators in developed and developing economies by providing either grants or aids or loans to them, while at the same time ensuring that the funds were judiciously spent by the receiving nations or sectors.
“The Federal Government, which received the grants on behalf of the operators in the solid minerals, is not ready to work at cross-purpose with the World Bank, hence the decision to provide the grants to suitable operators in the sector. That is the reason for the delay in providing the fund to the operators. But I can assure you that the government would disburse the loans to qualified operators very soon.”
According to him, using grants or any other assistance for the purpose they are intended is the World Bank’s philosophy.
“The global financial body has done it in critical sectors such as power, agriculture and others and it ensured that the funds were utilised. The bank will not give the money cash to the operators, who applied for it. Rather, it helps an operator or sector to get the equipment needed for his operation, as contained in the agreements, which he has signed. For instance, if an operator in the solid minerals sector needs a particular technology, what the World Bank does is that it would help the operator gets the technology, and not to give him the money. This is contrary to a situation whereby the bank would give cash to the operator in form of loan to purchase the technology,” he said.