Abuja - The drive by government to diversify the country’s economy has received a major boost after the Nigerian Export-Import
(NEXIM) Bank and the World Bank announced a collaboration to develop the mining sector.
NEXIM Managing Director, Roberts Ungwaga Orya, has received a team from the World Bank, led by Dr Francisco Igualada, Senior Mining Specialist, Energy & Extractives Unit, and. Linus Adie Utsu of Mining Investments Consult, that visited the bank to share ideas on how to provide structured intervention towards revamping and deepening the sector.
Igualada shared his knowledge of the mining industry and his organisation’s intervention in the sector over the years indicating that it is fraught with risks and uniquely capital intensive. He wondered why Nigeria, with all its huge resources and potentials has continued to earn less than Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso from mining activities.
He said the blame is on the overriding focus on oil and gas by the country at the detriment of neglecting the mining sector which is an enabler for manufacturing, services and other sectors. This is addition to the huge opportunities of job creation, revenue earnings and the development of other support services in the value chain that could have boosted the economy especially with the decline in world oil prices.
Igualada emphasised the need for a structured consolidation of efforts towards developing the sector. This should focus on building the right capacity both at human and institutional levels; as well as establishing and enforcing the requisite legal and policy frameworks.
He pointed out that the World Bank has a Public Private Partnership arrangement which it could recommend for the development of the solid minerals sector in Nigeria.
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Orya thanked the World Bank team and lauded Linus Adie’s strong advocacy for NEXIM Bank. He regretted the inability of the Solid Minerals Fund to fully take off, especially owing to unresolved legal and other bureaucratic issues.
He however reassured the World Bank team that with the commitment and firm resolve of President Muhammad Buhari to diversify the economy, revitalize the mining sector towards boosting job creation and enhancing foreign exchange earnings, that solid minerals will now become the focal sector of the economy.
Nigeria is endowed with huge solid mineral deposits, with about 34 products identified in commercial quantities in different parts of Nigeria. However, the failure to put in place a structure that will make the benefits of the exploitation available to all Nigerians has been the bane of the country.
he low activity in the solid mineral sector is not yielding the desired financial revenues as there are scanty records of payment of taxes and royalty to the government. Nigeria is losing lots of resources from untapped mineral deposit as well as from the little that is being mined mostly by illegal miners who smuggle the products out of the country.
At the moment, the sector accounts for only 0.14 percent of gross domestic product and 3.8 percent of the non-oil export revenue.
- CAJ News