Managing director/chief executive officer of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Abba Bello has disclosed that the bank is planning to increase its intervention in the solid minerals sector from five per cent to 25 per cent.
In addition to that, the NEXIM MD said the development bank is looking forward to partnering with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure mining becomes a priority sector to complement the efforts of the ministry of mines and steel development.
“It’s a focus for us at NEXIM to ensure that there is enough funding to attract investment into this sector. And it is our strategic vision that we move from our current five per cent dedicated to solid minerals to a minimum to 25 per cent,” Mr Bello said yesterday at the official signing of the tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, NEXIM Bank and SEALINK in Abuja.
SEALINK project is an idea to use the internal waterways in Nigeria to move goods from one place to the other. About 31 states in Nigeria have access to the internal waterways. The expectation is that the new move will serve to promote trade and commerce around the country at cheaper rates.
He stated that NEXIM’s effort towards development of solid minerals goes beyond transportation of the solid minerals. “They need to be mined first,” he said, adding: “For us, this is a milestone. Providing effective logistics; providing diversification sources for the nation’s economy; importantly, at this time, creating jobs. On the part of NEXIM Bank, we are ready to support mining from exploration to logistics, and getting them into the global market.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite said the regional SEALINK project that was initiated in 2011 to remove the huge logistics challenges and non-tariff measures along the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) trade corridor “is a giant stride for the country in terms of commerce and logistics in Nigeria.”
Adegbite who said Nigeria spends a lot on maintaining the damaged roads, noted that the mode of transportation in Nigeria is essentially by road. Moving heavy duty trucks with loads on the roads have often time damaged the road. Often times, the trucks are overloaded. “We are here to salute private sector initiatives and NEXIM Bank,” he added.
Chairperson of SEALINK, Mrs Dabney Shall Holma said without NEXIM, SEALINK wouldn’t have been standing on the foot it has today. She claimed that the ace for the federal government in the non-oil sector is solid minerals.
She lamented the rate of illegal mining that is not indexed in Nigeria, stating that with logistics and a digitalised transportation, not one ounce will go missing. “What is lifted will be accurately recorded in terms of volume and the value, you will know almost instantaneously because we will relate it to the world market and the cost,” Holma added.