Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank, Mr Robert Orya, said the operational funds to the mining sector would be increased to 10 per cent to develop the sector. Orya, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that the operational cost was increased from three per ent to 10 percent to fast track development in the sector.
He said that a lot of potential, which had not been fully harnessed abound in the sector. “What we are doing, the little operational funds in NEXIM, we are deploying at least 10 per cent. Two years ago, we had targeted three percent of our total loanable funds to that sector. But because of the importance, because of the huge potential, we have been able to move that from three per cent to 10 percent of loanable funds.
“Again, we are trying to unveil commercial lines of credit from other NEXIM banks in the world, so that we can bring it as investment capital to supplement what we are doing,” he said.
He said that due to the huge potential in the sector, the government would one day decide to have specific intervention funds to make the sector competitive. Orya said that with the intervention funds, commercial banks would begin to fund the sector.
According to him, the bank will allocate 10 percent of what it generates annually to the mining sector to enhance its operations. He stressed the need for miners to continue to partner with NEXIM bank and other financial institutions to improve their activities.
“It is a sector that has a lot of potential and it also has a lot of challenges.
“But the minister has done so much in reforming the sector. Some of the structural challenges we have, I am sure a lot of them have been addressed.” Orya said that with the discovering of 44 minerals in commercial quantity across the country, if developed, would boost the revenue base and create a lot of job opportunities for jobless Nigerians.
He said that South Africa, which had less mineral resources than Nigeria generated 60 percent of its GDP from the mining sector. The managing director expressed regret that the contributions of the sector to the country’s GDP was less than one per ent.
NAN reports that the Miners Association of Nigeria on Monday had its 2nd Miners Stakeholders Forum and 2013 Dinner”where Orya and other people were given awards for contributing to the development of the sector.
They include the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada and the Executive Chairman of ETA-Zuma Group, an indigenous mining firm, Dr Innocent Ezuma.
Alhaji Sani Shehu, the president of the association, said that Sada was honoured for his contributions to the development of the sector. The minister in his address had urged the miners to collaborate with mining institutes to upgrade their knowledge as “skill is key to the development of the sector”.