ABUJA, 12 August (Sweetcrude) – The Federal Government has expressed determination to open investment promotion units in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and it’s agencies across the country in its bid to attract local and foreign direct investment (FDI) for the development of the nation’s mining industry,.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, who made this disclosure when he received a delegation of investors from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in Abuja, assured of government’s readiness to assist and collaborate with foreign investors towards the development of Nigeria’s mining industry.
Arc. Sada disclosed that the process of establishing the investment promotion units is in progress, adding that when the programme is completed and operationalised, both local and foreign investors will easily access on-line any investment information they seek for in the minerals and metal sector.
According to Sada, one major challenge militating against the development of the nation’s mining industry was funding. He added that the present administration was trying to address that challenge through the establishment of a Solid Minerals Development Fund whose Board of Directors will be inaugurated soon.
The Minister also disclosed that banks and other financial institutions in the country are beginning to show interest of investing in the nation’s mining industry as a result of reforms in the sub-sector. He added that the sector is driven by the private sector while government administers and regulates.
Arc. Sada disclosed that the Federal Government was focused on the development of seven strategic minerals such as: Coal, Bitumen, Iron-Ore, Lead/Zinc, Barytes, Gold, and Limestone.
He noted that new legislation on investment particularly in the mining sector has opened a wider opportunity for investment protection in a manner the investors would be able to enjoy some uncommon benefits including tax exemptions for a given period as provided for in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act,2007.
The Minister also disclosed that Nigeria is to set up a Sustainable Development Fund to further develop the mining sector, stressing that the Fund would help to cushion the effect of expansion and financing the sector which is capital intensive.
He added that the fund would be a joint project between the Nigerian government and commercial banks in the country, this he said, would enable the banks to lend to potential investors for longer period of time to assist the miners generate enough revenue and be self sustaining.
According to the Minister, “What Government is trying to do is to create a kind of Development Fund for the mining sector generally, whereby government will put its own money and ask the banks also to contribute. Because of the long gestation of mining activities to generate revenue, the fund created will allow banks solve some questions which will be able to allow lending for longer period of time, for the miners to be able to start generating revenue.”
He said apart from the development fund, government had embarked on massive infrastructure development to attract foreign investors into the sector.
The Minister said ongoing works in this regard included dredging of the rivers around the coastlines to allow large vessels transport minerals from the mines to the outer coasts, expansion and rehabilitation of rail transportation as well as deregulation of the power sector.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the investors from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Mr. Mujtaba Sarfaraz, the Senior Vice- President of Mas Clearsight Limited said that the essence of their visit was to explore the possibility of investing in Nigeria’s mining industry.
Mr. Sarfaraz disclosed that his company was into mines development and feasibility studies among other areas.
Some of the minerals they intend to explore and exploit in Nigeria Include: Coal, Iron-Ore, Manganese and Copper among others.