Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
A former Managing Director, Nigerian Mining Corporation, Amb. Dr. Biodun Olorunfemi has called on banks and insurance companies across the country to take advantage of the multiple opportunities that abound in the mining sector.
He noted that for investments in mining, and if due diligence is carried out, a win-win situation awaits both the lender and borrower.
Speaking exclusively to THISDAY in an interview in Abuja, Olorunfemi said: “To a very large extent, funding has been one of the major problems of the Nigerian mining sector.”
According to him, the decision of government to fund explorations is a good step in the right direction, stressing that It is time both private and public sector all come together to discuss the crucial role of public and private finance institutions in funding mining activities in the country.
He said: “Every State in the country can boast of high quality mineral assets that exist in commercial quantities. The sector has huge returns on investment for as many organisations, I think the 2016 edition of the International Mining Investment Conference and Exhibition of Nigeria (IMICON 2016) will point the way forward for us as a country and people.
Furthermore, he said that it will be wise to consider creating a portfolio for mining finance in the loans and credit operations of banks and lending houses. He added that, the sector has the capacity to create millions of jobs for the citizens of the country if investors have the correct attitude towards it.
According to him, having committed more than 40 years of service in the sector, I have seen that mining is very profitable, but technical. “For this reason, Investors must also take advantage of rare opportunities of knowing about the technicalities of the sector”, he stresses.
The former Nigerian Ambassador to Namibia explained further that, the determination of government should be promptly complemented by the organised private sector by investments that will rejuvenate the economy and lead to significant in GDP.
According to him, state government should take advantage of investment opportunities which will be offered by IMICON as it would enable states develop their respective mining sectors toward becoming self-sustaining in terms of revenue generation.
“The Buhari administration has already made commitment to the development of the mining sector, by promising to fund minerals exploration. So, I urged banks and other financial institutions in the formulation of policies that will sustainably address the problem of unemployment and thereby building a mineral developed economy for the country,” he said.