The Federal Government plans to grant tax waivers on imported equipment to be used in the mining sector, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, hinted on Wednesday.
A statement by the minister’s special adviser on media, Segun Tomori, quoted the minister as saying this when he met with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Bandar AlKhorayef, on the sidelines of the Future Minerals Forum holding in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to woo investments into the country.
The minister noted that the government planned to grant tax waivers on imported equipment specifically directed at the mining sector and ensure full repatriation of profit by investors.
The minister’s assurance comes amidst the lingering issue of illegal mining, especially in the North East region despite the ban and strict regulations promised to be enforced by governors.
The states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.
Checks by our correspondent showed that the illegal miners, mostly underage boys and girls, steal precious stones like gold, sapphire, diamond, copper, lithium, aluminum, and iron amongst others.
Experts say these illegal activities that link to insecurity need firm regulations to enforce compliance with the provision of local consent as contained in Nigeria’s mining policy.
The statement partly read, “On incentives for investment, President Bola Tinubu has initiated policies on repatriation of profits by foreign investors, tax waivers on imported equipment specifically directed at the mining sector and a rejigged security architecture which he hinted will soon come on stream to effectively secure mining areas in the country.”
Continuing, Dr. Alake harped on the need to forge partnerships, stressing that global energy transition is contingent on critical minerals, which he stated to exist in abundance in Nigeria.
“We need a lot of investments in exploration, exploitation, extraction, processing, and local value addition. We realise that we must look at regions outside of Africa to collaborate, further consolidate, and enhance our capacity to explore and exploit the natural resources that we have. For us to maximally utilise, exploit, and derive maximum revenue for our own economic and infrastructural development, we need to have a very solid partnership with nations like Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia has always displayed good affinity to Nigeria, and it is historical. We have always been desirous of reciprocating this very positive gesture, and there is no better area to ensure that reciprocity than to ensure we consolidate our partnerships in areas of economic development. We are willing and open to investments in Nigeria, especially in the mining sector”, the Minister asserted.
He stressed the readiness of the Nigerian team to work with their Saudi Arabian counterpart to finetune specifics and map out strategies to concretise areas of collaboration within a specified time frame.
Alake also made a case for investment in local value addition involving the processing of solid minerals that will culminate in the production and establishment of factories in Nigeria, which he noted will generate employment and have a multiplier effect on the economy.
In his response, Mr. AlKhorayef shared the position of Nigeria on the fundamentals of diversifying the economy with an emphasis on the mining sector.
He revealed that Saudi Arabia also places a premium on local value addition whilst welcoming collaboration with Nigeria.
Both countries thereafter resolved to set up a joint technical committee to follow through in areas of partnership coupled with a workable action plan, guided by timelines, to harness areas of comparative advantage for mining sector development.
The PUNCH reports that on the Nigerian delegation were Executive Secretary, Solid Minerals Development Fund, Hajia Fatima Shinkafi; Director-General, Mining Cadastral Office, Dr. Obadiah Nkom; DG, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, Dr. Abdulrasak Garba; Director, Investments Promotion and Mineral Trade, Ime Erikpo while the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, HE Bandar AlKhorayef; Vice-Minister, Mining Affairs, Engr. Khaled AlMudifer and other government officials represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.