The Federal Government has expressed readiness to collaborate with Saudi Arabia to enhance the development of solid minerals as the world transitions from fossil fuels to cleaner energy.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake and his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Bandar AlKhoraye reached the agreement
when they led the delegations of both countries to the bilateral meeting. on the sidelines of the Future Minerals Forum (FMF) holding in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
In his remarks, Dr. Alake harped on the need to forge partnership, emphasizing that global energy transition is contingent on critical minerals, which he stated exist in abundance in Nigeria.
“We need a lot of investments in exploration, exploitation, extraction, processing, local value addition. We realize that we must look at regions outside of Africa to collaborate, further consolidate, and enhance our capacity in exploring and exploiting the natural resources that we have. For us to maximally utilize, exploit, and derive maximum revenue for our own economic and infrastructural development, we need to have a very solid partnership with nations like Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia has always displayed good affinity to Nigeria, and it is historical. We have always been desirous of reciprocating this very positive gesture, and there is no better area to ensure that reciprocity than to ensure we consolidate on our partnerships in areas of economic development. We are willing and open to investments in Nigeria, especially in the mining sector”, the Minister asserted
Speaking further, Alake made a case for investment in local value addition involving processing of solid minerals that will culminate in production and establishment of factories in Nigeria, which he noted will generate employment and have a multiplier effect on the economy. He emphasized the readiness of the Nigerian team to work with their Saudi Arabian counterpart to finetune specifics and map out strategies to concretize areas of collaboration within a specified time frame.
Throwing light on incentives for investment, Alake cited the policy of President Bola Tinubu on repatriation of profits by foreign investors, tax waivers on imported equipment specifically directed at the mining sector and a rejigged security architecture which he hinted will soon come on stream to effectively secure mining areas in the country.
In his response, Mr. AlKhorayef shared the position of Nigeria on the fundamentals of diversifying the economy with emphasis on the mining sector. He revealed that Saudi Arabia also places a premium on local value addition whilst welcoming collaboration with Nigeria.
Both countries thereafter resolved to set up a joint technical committee to follow through in areas of partnership coupled with a workable action plan, guided by timelines, to harness areas of comparative advantage for mining sector development.
On the Nigerian delegation were Executive Secretary, Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), Hajia Fatima Shinkafi; Director-General, Mining Cadastral Office (MCO), Dr. Obadiah Nkom; DG, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr. Abdulrasak Garba; Director, Investments Promotion and Mineral Trade (IPMT), Ime Erikpo while the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, HE Bandar AlKhorayef; Vice-Minister, Mining Affairs, Engr. Khaled AlMudifer and other government officials represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.