The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bwari, said that the activities of quarry in the Federal Capital Territory would remain suspended until investigation on the Mpape earth tremor was concluded.
Bwari said this in Abuja on Wednesday when the Quarry Owners Association of Nigeria paid him a courtesy visit.
”The activities of quarry was suspended until the investigation on the Mpape earth tremor is completed.
”Preliminary investigation shows that the tremor has nothing to do with quarry activities but the suspension still stands.
”I believe it is not going to be for long, very soon it will be lifted , ” he said.
Bwari said that it was very difficult to link mining activities to earth quakes.
He advised the association to always consider immediate communities and environment when carrying out their activities.
Bwari promised them that the issue of double taxation would be addressed.
He said that the ministry was trying to encourage equipment leasing within and outside the country.
Bwari said that there was need to protect the environment and that the mining law had taken care of it.
He advised them to always identify with the ministry’s activities, to enable the association to benefit from them.
Alhaji Nasir Ibrahim, Chairman of the association, advised that the minister should integrate them into government programmes, to ensure proper policies, legislation and adequate government interventions and support to the sector.
Ibrahim complained of multiple taxation and illegal collection on quarries, especially by government agencies and area councils.
He advised the ministry to set up a committee to harmonise the taxes, rates and levies.
Ibrahim solicited for government’s grant and equipment support to quarries in view of the huge capital and operational cost required to keep the sector.
He pleaded for the suspension of blasting in the FCT as there was no relation between the activities of the quarries and the recent earth tremor in Abuja.
”In any case, the suspension is tantamount to government putting it’s budgeted development of the FCT on hold when you consider quarry inputs to the overall development project.(NAN)