NEXIM, World Bank to collaborate on mining sector development
According to the Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Roberts Ungwaga Orya, while receiving a team from the World Bank led by Dr. Francisco Igualada, Senior Mining Specialist, Energy and Extractives Unit, and Mr. Linus Adie Utsu of Mining Investments Consult, who visited the bank to share ideas on how to provide intervention towards revamping the mining sector.
Orya said Nigeria is endowed with huge solid mineral deposits, with about 34 products identified in commercial quantities in different parts of Nigeria, adding that the failure of Nigeria, since independence in 1960, 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 explained that the 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, stressing that with the firm commitment of President Muhammad Buhari to diversify the economy, revitalise the mining sector towards boosting job creation and enhancing foreign exchange earnings.
“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, according to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reports, the sector accounts for only 0.14 per cent of GDP, and 3.8 per cent of the non-oil export revenue.
“Despite its huge potentials, the sector is grossly underdeveloped and dominated by SME/ artisanal and informal miners using crude machinery and equipment. There are other challenges of poor access to long term funding due to the capital-intensive nature of the industry; lack of accredited laboratory for testing and poor infrastructure, roads, rail facilities to move the products,” he said
According to him, NEXIM since inception till date has provided interventions to the sector to the tune of N7.17billion, noting that this has created more than 4,302 direct jobs plus many indirect jobs in addition to facilitating foreign exchange flow inflow of US$80, 142 annually.
The managing director noted that the critical issues ranges from how to get the government and other stakeholders to properly structure the mining sector, increase funding, and attract much needed investment capital; infrastructural development for the industry, especially the establishment of internationally certified laboratories and setting up of internationally recognized and endorsed mining calendar for Nigeria as prevalent in other regimes with dedicated attention to solid mineral exploitation.
In his remarks, World Bank Senior Mining Specialist, Dr. Francisco Igualada said he 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, adding that Nigeria, with all its huge resources and potentials has continued to earn less than Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso from mining activities.