Business Hilights
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‘Restructure mining sector before concluding deal on W/Bank’s $150m loan request’

Stakeholders in the nations mining sector have called on the federal government to halt discussions on accessing the targeted World Bank’s $150m loan for the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

A member of the Nigerian miners association, who pleaded anonymity, said there are lots of policy issues worrying the mining sector which need to be attended to before any mega facility will be injected.

The practitioner said the sector can best be described as still in its raw state and pushing money into without setting operational standards will amount to early varnishing of the facility which will in turn translate to huge debt for the country.

“Let me tell you, am yet to see a mining site that observes any Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards and the government is not saying or doing anything about that but only rushing to collect World Bank loan to develop a sector that is yawning for reforms,” the expert said.

He said should Nigeria successfully implement proposed recommendations for the sector before accessing the said loan, growth will return to the sector in the form of new exploration activities, operations and production from active mining, functional processing and refining capacity, and higher value-addition in exports.

Business Hilights learnt on Wednesday, that the Board of Governors of the World Bank is currently meeting to discuss the $150m loan that Nigeria is seeking from the institution to boost the fortunes of the mining sector.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said this at the 53rd Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Society for Mining and Geosciences in Abuja earlier in the week.

The minister also stated that the Federal Government was targeting $25bn contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product from the mining sector by the year 2026.

According to him, “We have commenced a systematic effort to build knowledge and confidence among Nigerian financial institutions to support mining projects.

“In addition, we intend to establish the Nigerian Solid Minerals Investment Fund, structured as a private sector oriented investment outfit to provide financing to private sector-led projects in the mining sector.

“The Federal Government recently approved about N30bn from the Natural Resources Fund to promote exploration for new minerals and improve the regulatory framework in the ministry.

“The ministry, through the Federal Government, is also negotiating a $150m loan from the World bank to commence the Mindiver Project aimed at further resuscitating the ailing sector. Today (Tuesday), the bank’s board is meeting in Washington to consider the concessional loan.”

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