Oscarline Onwuemenyi 13 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The World Bank has pledged to support the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) to develop Nigeria mining sector.
This is coming more than two years since the expiration of the multi-billion naira World Bank-sponsored Sustainable Management of Minerals Resources Project (SMMRP) in the country.
The Senior Mining Specialist, Energy & Extractives Unit at the World Bank, Dr. Francisco Igualada, who stated this when he led a team on a visit to the Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Mr. Roberts Ungwaga Orya, in Abuja, said the Bank has a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement which it could recommend for the development of the solid minerals sector in Nigeria.
He stressed the need to revamp efforts and link interventions to develop the sector through arrangements such as the Solid Minerals Fund in addition to renewed involvement by the government.
He stated that he will seek the commitment of his office on the development of the mining sector and collaboration with NEXIM Bank, especially in regard to workshop participation and capacity training.
Igualada wondered why Nigeria, with all her huge resources and potentials has continued to earn less than Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso from mining activities.
He blamed the country’s focus on oil and gas for this, arguing that the mining sector is an enabler for manufacturing, services and other sectors. This, he said is in addition to the huge opportunities of job creation, revenue earnings and the development of other support services in the value chain that would have boosted the economy especially with the decline in global oil prices.
According to Igualada, there is 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. To him, this has marked the difference between the Nigeria and South African mining sectors.
Welcoming his guests that included Mr. Linus Adie of Mining Investments Consults, Mr. Orya, said NEXIM Bank was set up to assist the government in diversifying the Nigerian economy away from the oil through the provision of export credit facility, risk bearing facilities, trade and market information and export advisory services to export-oriented investors in the manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals and services (MASS) sectors.
“The clear intention of the World Bank to collaborate with the NEXIM Bank towards a structured intervention in the Nigeria’s solid minerals sector is quite expedient.
“Moreso, with the commitment and firm resolve of President Muhammad Buhari to diversify the economy, revitalise the mining sector towards boosting job creation and enhancing foreign exchange earnings,” Orya said.
He pointed out that Nigeria is endowed with huge solid mineral deposits, with about 34 products identified in commercial quantities in different parts of the country, adding however, that the failure to put in place a structure that will make the benefits of the exploitation available to all has been the bane of the country.
He added 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, he said, lamenting that 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.