The Bank of Industry (BoI) has assured that it would increase funding to the mining sector of the Nigerian economy.
The bank made this commitment on the sideline of the International Mining Investment Conference held in Abuja, recently.
Acting managing director of the bank, Mr Waheed Olagunju, explained that the decision was in line with the federal government’s quest to diversify the country’s revenue base.
Olagunju disclosed that the bank had reached out to other financial institutions both at home and abroad to mobilise funding to promote mining activities in the country.
He also explained that the ongoing efforts by the federal government, in collaboration with the private sector to come up with credible data on mining deposits in the country, was what was needed to help investors make investment decisions. This, he also said, would aid the donor agencies’ grant decisions.
‘‘We are aware that our government and the private sector are now collaborating to produce the data. Once the credible data is produced, we will be able to attract more investment resources into the country, particularly from abroad. A lot of international financiers and investors are willing to operate in Nigeria in partnership with the Bank of Industry,’’ he said.
The BoI boss noted that the bank had been engaging its staff in capacity development programmes both at home and abroad to acquaint them with international best practices.
This, he maintained, was to enable the bank play active role in the sector. For instance, Olagunju stressed that some of the bank’s staff were already undergoing training programmes at the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa.
On the viability of the development finance institution to mobilise funding support for the mining sector, Olagunju averred that the bank has high credit rating. ‘‘There are lot of grants that are meant to support solid minerals development. Once there is a reliable financial institution, those donors will feel comfortable to make grant available. BoI is already well positioned to act in this regards.
“We are supporting the real sector in a viable manner; we take our time to identify genuine entrepreneurs. Our non- performing loan ratio is 3.87 per cent, which is below the CBN ration of 5 per cent. Also, as at June this year, the collection from MSMEs was N2.97billion as against N2.19bn for last year. This shows that on a sustainable basis, our promoters are paying back,” he added.
He therefor restated the commitment of the DFI to the development of commodity- based industrialisation, stressing that the country would only be able to derive maximise benefits from its verse natural resources when there is value addition.