The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday called on both local and foreign investors to be committed to the country’s economic development, especially in the payment of taxes as required.
Speaking at the 5th International Mining Investment Conference (IMICON) and Exhibition in Abuja, Osinbajo emphasised the need for investors to complement government’s economic development efforts by respecting the rule of law.
“Let me assure local and foreign investors that in our quest to grow the solid mineral sector, the Federal Government is fully focused on making it easier to do business in Nigeria.
“We have taken actions to move Nigeria from ranking of 169 out of 189 countries in the world in the ease of doing business by at least 20 spaces better in the coming ranking.
“We do hope that by this gesture, government’s efforts will be reciprocated by respect for the rule of law and commitment to promoting development of this country, including payment of taxes as required.’’
Osinbajo said that the declining crude oil prices had made it imperative for the country to focus on areas of comparative advantage like agriculture and solid mineral development.
He, however, said that the country’s abundant solid mineral endowments have remained untapped over the years, making it a huge a challenge.
He said that government was seeking closer collaboration with its partners to develop strategies aimed at positioning the mining sector for economic diversification.
The vice president urged participants at the conference to remember artisanal and small scale miners as they explored development options for the formal sector.
According to him, the contributions of the informal mining sector to national development through employment generation, wealth creation and poverty reduction need to be supported.
He said that government would ensure that policies aimed at harnessing their potentials were promoted because of the value addition inherent in their activities.
The Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that the ministry was working hard to address all issues militating against issuance of exploratory licence or mining deeds.
Fayemi identified one of the issues as the dispute among communities over who had the legitimacy to give mining consent required for the ministry to issue mining licence.
“We need an overriding arrangement that will give legitimacy to community consent, and we will no longer let this kind of dispute go on.
“If you are an investor from Japan or Australia, what do you really care about quarrels in a community when you have met all your obligations?
“It is not fair to subject investors to that kind of distractions. All they need is to meet the requirements of the state and the country, then get on with their work.
“If you have taxes or royalties to pay, pay to government.
“We are the ones who need to fix our problems domestically and we will do that in the course of implementing this current roadmap.’’
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, said the synergy between the ministry and that of solid minerals development would be sustained to make the sector globally competitive.
Abubakar called on the participants to provide solutions in the areas of capacity building and value addition that would promote investment in the sector.
The conference has as its theme: “Connecting the Global Mining Industry to the Opportunities of the Solid Mineral Sector in Nigeria.’’