Mining investors to get tax holiday

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

From Left; Minister of State for, Mines and Steel Development, Bawa Bwari Abubakar; Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi during the National Mining Summit in Abuja on Tuesday.

Nigeria is working to ensure the implementation of a three-year tax holiday for new investors in the mining sector.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday at the opening of a three-day National Mining Conference, taking place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

while declaring the summit opened, Professor Osinbajo said “Further to encourage more entrance and more investors, the Government is working to ensure implementation of a three-year tax holiday for new investors in the mining sector.”

He said the long term plan of the Nigerian government was to grow the contribution of the solid mineral sector to the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, by US $25 billion by the year 2025, which is three percent of current GDP.

According to him “the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, which targets a 7% growth by year 2020, sets a more aggressive growth rate of 8.54% for the solid mineral sector for the same period.

“The plan is to be realised principally by creating an enabling environment targeting large scale investors to institutionalised world class production standards in our countries solid sector,” the acting president stated.

N30billion intervention for mining sector
Osinbajo said the government has granted Nigeria’s , Ministry of Mines and Steel Development  access to the mining sector component of our natural resources development fund for a sum of 30 billion naira.

He said this intervention fund from the government wass partly to provide cheap loans and grants to industry participants as well as for directly investing in foundational infrastructure.

Other incentives
Osinbajo said the government was also working with the Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and others for  a US$600 million investment fund for the mining sector.

From Left; Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi during the National Mining Summit.

It has also secured $150 million in funding from the World Bank for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic  Diversification.

“We also provide technical assistance for the restructuring of the solid minerals development fund, which provides funding for the artisanal and small mining operators through micro finance and leasing institutions,” he said.

Aside financial investment, Osinbajo said government was also addressing the challenge of lack of geological data.

“The Nigerian Geological Survey Agency is undertaking the additional ground investigation nationwide to upgrade our national mineral data base so that we can more easily attract financial investment as well as assure operators of the scope of operations required for further exploration and mining.

“I’ve also signed MOU and technical coop agreement with the China Geological Surveys Shandon Minerals Exploitation Agency and the National Office of Hydro Carbons and Mines of Morocco,” the Acting President explained.

He said these collaborations were intended to leverage on the expertise and state of the art technology of these agencies and assisting Nigeria to generate investor friendly geo science data.

Enabling business environment
He said the plan of government was to be realised principally by creating an enabling environment targeting large scale investors to institutionalised world class production standards in Nigeria’s solid mineral sector.

This has been the mandate of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council created last year by the President Buhari administration to ensure a friendly business environment in Nigeria.

Professor Osinbajo said the council, which set a 60-Day Action Plan between February and April this year has reduced the number of days for registering businesses in Nigeria.

He said government has also gone further to demonstrate its commitment to create conducive environment for business through the executive orders he signed last month.

Participants at the summit, which has its theme as, “Unearthing Nigeria’s Mining Sector” came from Nigeria, Ghana, Niger Republic, South African, and Australia among other countries.

Confidence Okwuchi