Reps propose establishment of Mining Development Bank

Elizabeth AtimeMarch 13, 20243 min

The Bill has several important implications and benefits for the country’s mining sector through support of capacity-building initiatives in the sector.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed into second reading a Bill seeking to establish a bank that will cater for small miners to support the growth and development of the sector.

The piece of legislation is titled “A Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigeria Mining Development Bank” (NMDB) sponsored by Rep. Uchenna Harrison Okonkwo (LP, Anambra).

Leading debate on the Bill, Rep. Uchenna noted that the piece of legislation when passed will provide financial support, promote investment and foster sustainable development in the mining sector.

According to him, “the Bill has several important implications and benefits for the country’s mining sector through support of capacity building initiatives in the sector by providing training programmes, technical assistance, and knowledge-sharing activities to enhance the skills and capacity of local stakeholders.

“The Bill shall promote local participation in the mining sector, the bank can help enhance local content development, create employment opportunities and foster economic empowerment in the mining communities.

“The bank can support the development of mining projects by providing funding for exploration, feasibility studies, infrastructure development and other critical stages of project development. The mining sector often involves high risks, including geological, operational, and market risks. A specialised bank can help mitigate these risks by providing financial instruments such as guarantees insurance and risk-sharing mechanisms.”

In an exclusive interview with OrderPaper, the lawmaker dismissed any fear of failure or corruption in the operation of the bank. He further explained that experienced personnel in the private sector will be used to govern the bank.

“The Bill mitigates corruption because we are putting it in the hands of the private sector. They are coming up with investments to fill this entity. We have to be careful not to bring in persons in the same persons in the public sector rather, we should bring in private persons that understand the business”, he clarified.

Supporting the Bill, Rep. Ahmed Jaha (APC, Borno) said “This bill is important for the diversification of the economy, establishing this kind of bank will encourage investors, loans and other investments will be granted through this bank. We ask that our colleagues support this bill so that it would add value.

On his part, the Chairman House Committee on Solid Minerals, Rep. Jonathan Gaza (SPD, Nasarawa) said the bill is a renewed hope for the economic sector.

“This bill is with mixed feelings, this kind of bill in my opinion should have been presented earlier,  this bill will bring us renewed hope in the economic sector. It brings a ray of hope because it will foster deep exploration and value addition. I congratulate my colleague for giving us the bill and we should do the needful that will bring out the diversification and rescue of the economy.”

The Bill was unanimously supported when the presiding officer, Speaker Tanjudeen Abbas put the question and was referred to the House Committee on Solid Minerals.

Elizabeth Atime

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