Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Mr Abubakar Bwari, has appealed to Nigerian banks to consider more investment in the mining sector.
He said the plea became necessary as foreign investors are desirous of more investment by Nigerian banks to boost activities in the sector.
Mr. Bwari disclosed this while speaking at the first edition of the Nigeria Metallurgical Industry Stakeholders’ Forum (MISF) themed ‘Nigeria’s Economic and Industrial Development Through Value Addition in the Metal Sector.’ Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, foreign investors made the appeal at a mining forum in Australia where they complained about Nigerian banks’ non commitment to the sector.
He urged stakeholders at the MISF to be advocates of better financing in the mining sector by educating the banks on the sectors challenges, potentials and economic benefits.
“The ball is in our court, as stakeholders, to bring mining before the banks so that the Nigerian banks can be educated on what it is about,” Mr Bwari told participants at the Forum.
While noting that modern mining would soon commence in Nigeria with Bauchi state as the first beneficiary due to its large deposit of zinc, Mr Bwari said the metal industry have a great impact on other sectors of the economy, with the prospects of foreign exchange earnings and sustenance.
He added that it would contribute to increase in GDP and create job opportunities as well as acquisition of technical skills leading to technology transfer to Nigerians.
Expressing concern over the closure of many metallurgical and allied plants in the country, the minister identified non-effective government policies to guide and regulate the activities of operators in the sector and poor commitment by persons assigned to run public enterprises as some of the challenges.
He also listed corruption, economic sabotage, unfavourable and sometimes inconsistent fiscal policies and poor power supply as other contributing factors.
Dr. Abdulkadir Mua’azu, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, however, noted in his remarks that current efforts to boost activities in the metallurgical sub-sector include ensuring Presidential assent to the Nigerian Metallurgical Industrial Bill which has passed the second reading at the senate and collaboration with all relevant government agencies.