ABUJA – (Federal Ministry of Mines & Steel Development Report) – The Government of Nigeria has assured Canadian investors of incentives and the conducive environments needed for their investments to thrive. Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo gave this assurance at a two-day Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit with the theme: “Fostering Strong Business Partnership Into the Future” which held at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja from November 5-6, 2018.
Yemi Osinbajo affirmed the tremendous opportunities for increased scope of trade and investment between Canada and Nigeria as he stressed the need to fully realise Nigeria’s immense investment potentials. He identified the various reforms put in place by the Government of Nigeria to improve the ease of doing business in the country.
While referencing the inauguration of the Presidential Enabling Environment Committee (PEEC) being chaired by him as part of Government’s efforts at improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria, he mentioned that the Committee was charged with progressively removing the challenge faced by investors in doing business in Nigeria and ensuring coordination across several Ministries and Agencies of Government.
“With support from the leadership of the National Assembly and the State Governments, we were able to drive the reforms that held us in place as one of the world’s 10 performing economic hubs,” he indicated.
The Vice President expressed confidence that the government’s on-going efforts at harnessing the entrepreneurial energy of Nigeria’s youthful population would bring about meaningful contributions to the country’s GDP and develop the home – grown solution that would help the nation achieve its sustainable development goals. He noted that the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the government has identified some of the sectors that many Canadian investors are already familiar with as priority sectors. These according to him include: power generation, devolvement of gas to power, mining and solid minerals, agriculture, food processing, manufacturing and real estate.
“Towards the achievement of ERGP, we have conducted focus labs which are special interventions targeted at resolving the specific bureaucratic bottlenecks facing large scale investments in Nigeria,” he explained.
He later informed participants at the Summit that the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) is in the process of building a database of investment opportunities across Nigeria to guide potential investors.
In his address at the event, the Minister of State for Mines & Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari said that the history of Nigerian Mining Reform cannot be complete without mentioning the positive roles that Canada and Canadians played in helping to midwife it, giving it direction and protection.
The Minister recalled that Nigeria’s mining relationship with Canada dated back to 2013 when Canada and its firms provided training and critical expertise to the sector before the relationship took a turn for the worse. He however revealed that the country is currently witnessing the gradual return of Canadian mining companies into the Nigerian mining jurisdiction.
He pointed out that one of the more famous ones is Thor Explorations Limited which is continuing with its mine development and exploration works over the Segilola Gold Project in Ilesha, Osun State. He also made reference to James Bay Resources Ltd whose interest had been in Bitumen and recently in Lead Zinc. Adding, the vast opportunities that exist in both the down and upstream sectors of Nigeria mineral development are clearer and ready for exploitation.
Abubakar Bwari remarked that many analysts have noted that Nigeria is still essentially a green field with a variety of mineral types and some of the highest grades of minerals anywhere in the world. He further noted the challenge of infrastructure in mining, stating that the Nigerian Government has initiated a partnering scheme with the private sector for the provision of infrastructure through the National Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan. He encouraged Canadian investors to go into Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements with the government, in order to provide the needed infrastructure.
The Mines & Steel Development Deputy Minister affirmed the existence of many high grade mineral deposits in Nigeria, listing government incentives on mining investments such as conducive investment climate comprising 100% ownership of mining projects as guaranteed by the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (2007); waivers for customs and import duties for plant, machinery and equipment imported for mining operations as well as tax holidays of three to five years.
Other incentives according to him are free transferability of funds and permission to retain and use earned foreign exchange; capital allowances of up to 95% of qualifying capital expenditure and deductibility of environmental costs.
Earlier in his speech, the Deputy High Commissioner of the Canada High Commission in Nigeria, Ryan Ward said with the shifting wind in international trade, Canada considers it beneficial to explore the potentials in Nigeria and establish a strong trade and investment relationship that would be of mutual benefits to both countries. He stated that efforts are being made to bring in more Canadian investors into Nigerian businesses to harness the available resources in the country.