Minister of State For Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari on Friday, in London, broke the jinx by becoming the first Nigerian minister of Mines and Steel Development to lead a powerful delegation to the London Stock Exchange; in a renewed move to woo top investors around the globe to invest in the solid minerals sector in Nigeria.
The minister who was accompanied by egg heads of the ministry comprising it’s Permanent Secretary Bar. Georgina Ehuria, Director General Mining Cadatre, Mohammed Amate, Project Coordinator MinDiver, Mr Linus Adie, Director Investment and Promotion Rose Ndong, and Special Assistant to the Minister on Policy and Strategy, Professor Okey Onyejekwe used the unprecedented window to convince would-be investors on how prepared Nigeria is to welcome them into investing in the solid minerals sector.
At the Business Roundtable Forum, moderated by Jonathan Blanchard Smith of the London Stock Exchange Group and chair of the Natural Resources Forum, the minister said the government of Nigeria is not taking lightly the rare opportunity of having a team from the solid minerals sector appear at the Chatham House for the first time insisting that a lot has changed in the industry in an effort to help change the erroneous perception about Nigeria’s unpreparedness in encouraging foreign investors into the solid minerals sector.
He told the house that before the discovery of oil, Nigeria was a mining destination but development of the industry was abandoned once oil was discovered. ” If Nigeria before now was seen as a mining destination, the current perception issue against the country would not have been there. It is over exaggerated and l want to say that Nigeria is ready and open for mining business like never before. Our mining laws are one of the best you can find around the world, mining licences process is efficient and digitalised and can be gotten now
under 30 days, investors enjoy tax holidays for 3-5 years, can own their businesses 100% among other juicy incentives. Nigeria is extremely blessed in solid minerals which are under exploited.
Nigeria’s mining jurisdiction is friendly and more sophisticated compared with other African countries. Most importantly is the fact that the present administration has made all processes in mining very transparent.”
According to Bawa Bwari, issues regarding Nigeria’s insecurity blown out of proportion against the interests of would-be investors is rather an erroneous perception than reality. “Nigeria is very safe for investment in mining. Unlike oil and gas that is found only in the Niger Delta region, solid minerals are scattered in all the 774 local governments in Nigeria. The north east being talked about as unsafe for Nigeria is where one of biggest mining activity is going on at the moment by an Australian company called Symbol Mining Company. They are into lead zinc production and exportation. What we do is to always encourage investors coming in to always play by the rules and follow security guides given to avoid any harm. Some cut corners and run into trouble. Indeed, there is no country in the world today without its own share of crime. So, the issues are more of perception than reality in general terms.”
He said the essence of visiting the London Stock Exchange was to help reshape every negative perception and promote Nigeria’s readiness to receive investors into the country. “The entire world knows of the present administration’s effort to tackle insecurity, corruption and unemployment through job creation. One of the ways to achieve that is to diversify the economy from over reliance on oil to focusing on sectors like the solid minerals and agriculture. This is because we have a growing population with youths in search of jobs. If investors come in to invest in our minerals which are scattered all over Nigeria, there would be job creation for the youths of that community which will in turn curb restiveness, crime and the dangerous trend of having to cross the Mediterranean Sea or desert to Europe. We have what you want and you have what we need. So, come quickly we are ready for you.” He concluded at the London Stock Exchange.
Segun Lawson, the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Thor Exploration, which mine gold in South West Nigeria, said as miners of the highest grade gold in West Africa, the mining jurisdiction in Nigeria is safe. ” We are a listed gold and exploration company in Nigeria. We acquired Segilola Gold company in August 2016 and excited with what we have seen and met on ground in terms of conducive environment to do mining business. The mining jurisdiction in Nigeria is safe, we enjoy tax holidays and complete customs duty free services with efficient licencing process. For us who have been in mining business around the continent Nigeria is a good investment destination for mining and far more enabling compared to other African countries.”
Charles Bond of Gouling WLG company, said this is a new dawn for Nigeria considering the favourable reports coming out of the country as the newest destination for mining business. ” I am excited about what is happening in Nigeria. This is indeed a new dawn for Nigeria’s mining industry. Nigeria is now technically a mining destination and jurisdiction. The issue about Nigeria is that of perception rather than reality even though Nigeria must also do a lot to be taken seriously in the real mining index. There is huge amount of pluses for Nigeria which means the perception about the country must be corrected.