Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

By Ige Olugbenga

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said the federal government is willing to encourage investment in Nigeria’s mining sector.

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Osinbajo made this known while addressing investors at the inaugural National Mining Summit in Abuja.

“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has been granted access to the mining sector component of our natural resources development fund for a sum of N30bn, an intervention fund from the federal government,” he said.

Osinbajo explained that the move was part of measures by the government to help provide cheap loans and grants to industry participants as well as for directly investing in foundational infrastructure.

New funding arrangements

He said the presidency would work closely with the Nigerian Stock Exchange to create new funding arrangements and incentives for investors willing to invest in the sector.

“We are currently working with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and others to assemble a $600m investment fund for the sector.

“Internationally we have secured $150m [in funding] from the World Bank for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MSSED),”  Osinbajo added.

Lack of geological data

Apart from financial investments, he said the government was also addressing the challenge of the lack of geological data.

“The Nigerian geological and survey agency is undertaking the additional ground investigation nationwide to upgrade our national minerals’  database so that we can more easily attract financial investment.

“We’ve also signed memoranda of understanding and technical cooperation agreements with the China Geological service, Shandong Mineral Exploitation Agency; and the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines of Morocco,” he said.