By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme
The Nigerian Government is targeting $5 billion naira in mining investments over the next 10 years under a new industry roadmap, as part of a broader drive to diversify revenue sources away from non-oil sectors.
In an exclusive interview with Mr. Aminu Suleman Takuma, Deputy Director Co-ordinator, Zonal Officies, State Co-ordination Department, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).
Mr. Suleman said Nigeria has a variety of mineral deposits creating a basket of as yet undeveloed reserves across the country ranging from Tin, Columbite, Coal, Barite, Bentonite, Gold, Bitument, Limestone, Iron Ore, Tantalite, Granite, Gemstones, Lead, Silver, Lithium, Gypsum, Marble etc…
Speaking further, Mr. Suleman said the recently unveiled roadmap maintains the three year tax holidays, as well as exemptions on import duties for mining equipment – incentives first implemented under the previous administration, but re-authorized in the new roadmap.
The Government would continue to allow 100% foreign ownership in the sector.
“The roadmap also stipulates the creation of a new independent regulatory agency, which will assume the collective roles of the existing regulatory bodies in the sector, including the Inspectorate, Environmental Compliance and the Artisans and Small Scale Units of the ministry. This in turn will allow the MMSD to focus on facilitating investment and
development,” he added
According to him, plans are also underway to make more funds available for investors, with the Federal Executive Countive approving a N30 million ($98,522) mining intervention fund in previous year in mid-october. In addition, the party state-owned Bank of Industry has pledged to increase financing sector.
He further explained that mining companies in Nigeria are required to have a community development program, as well as local consent in order to obtain a mining license, in part to ensure local communities benefit from nearby mining operations.
The new roadmap focuses on working with communities to encourage financial participation and develop educational opportunities as part of the plan’s short and long-term goals.
He also said that Nigeria which derives about 13% of its GDP from crudeoil production has been affected by sustained low global oil prices, with the IMF forecasting a 1.8% economic contraction for 2017, the first full year decline since 1991 resulting in a push to diversify revenue sources.
Nigeria is looking to expand the base of its mining sector on the back of new finds, such as the nickel deposit in Kaduna state, which the government predicts could create $400 billion in revenue.
MMSD estimates that there are 44 different types of minerals identified in 500 locations across the country.
Limestone reserves in the south-west are about 31 million tones while iron ore reserves are estimated at just over 880 million tones.