The recent revelation by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), that it has spent N700 million to develop an Integrated Automation and Interactive GIS Web Portal to improve `Ease-of-Doing-Business in the mining sector, is beginning to elicit reactions from experts.
During the launch of the portal last week, the Minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi noted that the portal was a cutting edge initiative that leveraged technology for the innovation, efficiency and effectiveness in the mineral sector governance.
According to him, the overall objective of the project was to increase provision of reliable information and knowledge, to enhance promotion of investments in the sector, using the technology-driven innovation and to increase the sector’s GDP.
However, experts in web designing who spoke to our correspondents over the weekend said they are yet to imagine any web site construction that will run into N700m in cost.
They argued that no matter what the site is coming with or is designed to perform, it should not be up to N700m.
Explaining more on the workings of the new portal, the Minister added that “It was designed for mining investors to perform business processes such as online mining licences and mineral titles applications, online payment of royalties and fees, database for revenue drive and to block revenue leakages.
“The portal is credible with timely information about the mining sector, performs and responds to online queries, business intelligence/analytics, reports and statistical data generation.
“Mining investors could view all existing mining titles and track them anywhere in the world through the portal, access all agencies information, global mining news, live chat and document library, among others.
“Lists of mining operators with valid licences and related minerals trade on private mineral buying centre and renewal of private mineral buying centres could also be accessed through the portal.
While insisting that the portal is designed to serve as an input and decision support system to other entities of government (MDAs), Fayemi said “This event is coming at a very auspicious time, on a broad scale; dividends of this administration’s commitment to turning around our economic fortunes”.
He also revealed that about 75 staff had been trained on GIS across the mining sector, stressing that henceforth, operation of online application of mining title and licences issued by Nigerian Mining Centre Office, online application of licences and permit issued by Mines Inspectorate Department and GIS laboratory, among others, would commence in the first quarter of 2018.