Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Managing Director of Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank), Mr. Abba Bello, has disclosed that Nigeria has a huge solid minerals endowment with over 34 solid minerals available in commercial quantities.
He noted that since he took over the helms of affairs in NEXIM, he has developed targeted products to unlock opportunities in the sector, including the Contract Financing Scheme and the Equipment Leasing framework.
The Managing Director, adding that over the next few years, the solid minerals sector would increasingly realise the benefits of NEXIM’s intervention.
Bello, spoke in Kano, recently, during a working visit to the Dutse Granite Company Limited, which is Nigeria’s indigenous operator in the solid minerals sector that has commenced operations.
He added that the objective of the bank was to ensure creation of jobs and to support forex earnings for the country.
He said that in spite of this, the sector accounts for less than one per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and contributes less than one per cent of non-oil exports revenue.
Bello mentioned that part of challenges of the solid minerals sector was poor access to finance, given the capital-intensive nature of mining projects and the need for long term funds.
The Dutse Granite Company is based in Sharada Industrial Area, Kano, which produces granite tiles and slabs for import substitution and export.
The company, which was incorporated in 2011, was first financed by NEXIM in 2015, but somehow encountered some challenges.
According to the Managing Director of the Bank, this led to disbursement of more money in 2018 and 2019, to enable the company acquire state of the art processing machinery and equipment.
Also speaking, the chief promoter of the company, Alhaji Mustapha Khabeeb, disclosed that but for the intervention of NEXIM bank, the project, with machinery currently worth over N1 billion would have been stalled.
He disclosed that the company has about the best machinery for granite processing in the country presently, saying that the products were comparable in quality with those imported from Europe.
Khabeeb, indicated that his company currently has 37 staff in direct employment, “but this does not include many others in the value chain from the quarry to the distribution network, and other by-products, which run into hundreds.”
The company supplies the major construction companies in the county and has export orders from Saudi Arabia, Chad and Ghana.
He, however, disclosed that logistics challenges were major impediments to maximising the export potentials of the company.