The World Bank on Wednesday met with operators in the solid minerals’ sector to discuss the possibility of further funding for the development of the sector.
Leading a delegation of the Bank to the office of the minister of Solid Minerals Development and his minister of state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari, respectively, the World Bank Group, global lead extractor, Michael Stanley, said “their main objective is to make the sector a driver for economic growth”
Stanley said, “Our main objective is to look at the sector and see how we can make the sector a driver for growth and investments and how mining operations can have a positive benefit to the communities, states and the nation”
He said the World Bank recognises that the mining sector can be a driver of growth and has come to appreciate the sector’s governance which helps government to administer the sector and investors to realise their objectives and have the benefits for their investments.
The Lead Director said the bank is a development partner to the government of Nigeria. He added that aside providing the ministry of solid mineral with a funding project which is to run for four years, the Bank will also provide technical assistance.
However, he noted that in providing the technical assistance, there was the need to leverage activities towards the economic development of the nation and in doing so, it often recognises that a mining nation only take a great mining reforms but really it is judged by the mining communities based on its successes
He said the purpose of the meeting was to listen to the operators and see the possible prioritised actions that would take 3- 4 years to conclude.
Also speaking, Dr Kayode Fayemi revealed that the purpose of the meeting was to meet with the World Bank group and also allow the group meet with the operators even as he disclosed that the ministry had approached the Bank for funds for the development of the sector.
Fayemi recalled that the first round of the fund to the sector was also supported by the World Bank in 2005-2012 as part of the sectors reform initiative, adding that the bank has been gracious enough to work with them in developing this initiative,.
Recalling a meeting with the stakeholders in the mining industry in Nigeria, Fayemi said that a number of issues discussed earlier with the stakeholders was captured in the Roadmap which was submitted just a week ago.
“But we need an alignment between our Roadmap initiative which is our own local initiative as to how to really develop the sector.
“We are approaching development partners to support us on and that is why we have the team from the World Bank.
“Beyond just talking to us as the policy drivers and enablers with the sector, we believe they should talk with the operators too” he said
Noting that the sector which is not a sector to be developed overnight due to challenges, Fayemi urged the operators be. as frank as possible where they think there are gaps in the activities of the ministry in the overall running of the sector such as in finance, geodata, geosciences, availability of funds and other areas of their operations.