By Lucy Nwachukwu
The World Bank on Wednesday approved 150 million dollars credit to help increase the mining sector’s contribution to the Nigerian economy.
The Senior Communication Officer of the bank, Ms Olufunke Olufon, said in a statement in Abuja that the project would help to establish a strong foundation for mining sector development in the country.
Olufon said that credit would also enhance competitiveness by improving information infrastructure and knowledge of mining.
She said that it would equally help in strengthening key government institutions and foster domestic investments in the sector.
“The project will help develop measures for formalising; regulating and inventorying artisan and small-scale mining; facilitate the flow of mineral transactions and facilitate access to finance.
“It will facilitate access to technology and equipment; increase knowledge and support the mining and processing of the minerals in accordance with best practices,’’ Olufon said.
According to her, environmental and social protection will also be enhanced by the credit line.
Olufon said that the expected results include the ability to attract and develop mineral transactions on medium and large mining operations and any other mining related investments.
The statement also quoted the World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoudm as saying that “Nigeria has a favourable geological potential.’’
“The potential is such that if adequately assessed, well exploited and managed in a sustainable manner, can support broader economic growth through mineral sector.’’
Benmessaoudm said that one of the key objectives of the project was to support Nigerian government’s priority to diversify the economy to a broader range of non-oil productive sectors.
“The support will include the realisation of the full mineral endowment for sector policy, promotion, conducive business environment and integrated long-range resources and investment planning.’’
He said that the Nigeria had been unable to attract significant investment in exploration and mining into the sector.
The global financial giant said that the current productivity from the Nigerian mining sector was still insufficient to meet local demands particularly for industrial minerals.
The bank listed the critical binding constraints of the sectors development to include insufficient geo-data and geological knowledge, weak implementation and enforcement of the mining law and regulations.
Benmessaoudm said that a large poorly regulated and informal artisanal and small-scale mining sub-sector was also one of the critical constraints of the sector. (NAN)