Acting president Yemi Osinbajo has said the Federal Government would be raising $600m for the development of the solid minerals sector.
Osinbajo said this in a keynote address delivered at the opening of the National Mining Summit in Abuja where he also explained that the fund will be raised through the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Investment Authority and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
He said, “We are currently working with the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and others to assemble a $600m investment fund for the sector.
“We have secured funding from both domestic and international sources for investment in the solid minerals sector. From the public purse, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has been granted access to the mining sector component of our Natural Resources Development Fund for the sum of N30bn, an intervention fund from the Federal Government. This is to help provide cheap loans and grants to industry participants as well as for directly investing in foundational infrastructure.
“Internationally, we have secured $150m in funding from the World Bank for the minerals sector’s economic diversification. This will provide technical assistance in restructuring and operationalisation of the Solid Minerals Development Fund, which will make finance available to artisanal and small mining operators through mining finance and lease institutions.”
Osinbajo added, “The mining sector is a priority for the Nigerian government and a crucial part of our economic growth and diversification agenda. The President has seized every opportunity over the last two years to highlight the diversification vision and central role of the mining sector in it.
“The argument for diversification is a straightforward one. We are all witnesses to the impact on our revenues and our economy generally of the recent decline in oil prices, and this is so for many countries such as ours that are one-commodity based.”
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said it was important for the nation to bring critical stakeholders together in order for Nigeria to become a destination to be reckoned with in the international mining community.