Fayemi to UK lawmakers: Nigeria open for investment
Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, has urged Britain to take advantage of the abundant minerals deposits in Nigeria and the enabling environment being created by the Muhammadu Buhari administration to invest in the country’s mining sector.
Fayemi, who addressed British parliamentarians and investors at a session organised by the All-Party Parliamentarian Group (APPG) on Nigeria at the Parliament, Westminster, London on Thursday, urged them to shun negative views about the country, which according to him are usually unduly exaggerated.
The Minister, who also presented copies of the Mining Roadmap recently developed by the ministry to the parliamentarians, said President Buhari is at the forefront of the efforts to convince investors that Nigeria is open for investment. He added that the President’s strategic diplomatic engagement has helped in giving the country a new image as a worthwhile investment destination.
Specifically, Fayemi urged the British investors to consider the country’s mining sector for investment, even as he categorised the country’s mineral deposits into five groups, vis: industrial minerals (such as barite, kaolin limestone); energy minerals (such as bitumen and uranium); metallic ore minerals (gold, iron ore, copper), Construction minerals (granite, gravel) and precious stones (sapphire, emerald, topaz).
He reinstated the commitment of the administration to making solid minerals a major revenue earner and a vehicle for job creation in the country.
“In 2015, the sector contributed approximately 0.33 per cent to the gross domestic product of the country. This contribution is a reversal from historically higher percentages (about four to five per cent in the 1960s-70s). Our policy goal is to return to a contribution level of five to seven per cent over the next 10 – 15 years, and the recently approved Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) is very supportive of this aspiration,” he said.
The Minister, who noted Britain’s involvement in the development of mining in Jos and Enugu dating back to 1902, also urged the country to invest in Nigeria’s steel sector, which current market size is $3.3bn per annum.
He assured them that the steel sector has the potential to grow to $15 billion per annum “with increased industrialisation driven by our domestic feedstock, which constitutes the second largest iron ore reserves in Africa”.
He said the ministry has put in place a strategy to jumpstart market growth, using a blend of domestic mining houses, mining companies and junior global miners.