THE Federal Nigeria and the World Bank Group are to meet this week in Washington D.C., United State (U.S.) to discuss and possibly conclude operational terms on the power sector recovery plan.
Power, Works & Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola is billed to lead key officials in his ministry and that of the Office of the Vice President to the meeting which is expected to hold on the sidelines of the annual World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings.
Sources said that the meeting has been specifically arranged to hold at the time of the spring meetings between April 21 and 23. The sources explained that both parties would take time out to discuss key factors in the implementation of the power sector recovery plan.
It said Fashola confirmed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the plan for use, paving the way for Nigeria and the Bank to conclude discussions on it.
Also, the World Bank’s Board has approved a $150 million credit to enhance the contribution of the mining sector to the local economy.
The project will help establish a strong foundation for mining sector development and enhance competitiveness by improving information infrastructure and knowledge, strengthening of key government institutions, and fostering of domestic investment in the sector.
“Nigeria has a favourable geological potential that if adequately assessed, well exploited and sustainably managed, could support broader economic growth through mineral sector,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director, Nigeria.
He went on: “In line with the Nigerian government’s priority to diversify the economy to a broader range of non-oil productive sectors, one of the key objectives of this project is to support the government in the realisation of the full mineral endowment for sector policy, promotion, conducive business environment and integrated long-range resources and investment planning.”
Nigeria has been unable to attract significant investment in exploration and mining into the sector, and current productivity from the Nigerian mining sector is still insufficient to meet local demands, particularly for industrial minerals.
Insufficient geo-data and geological knowledge, weak implementation and enforcement of the mining law and regulations, and a large, poorly regulated and informal artisanal and small-scale mining sub-sector are among the critical binding constraints for sector development.
The project will help develop measures for formalising, regulating and inventorying artisanal and small-scale mining, facilitate the flow of mineral transactions, facilitate access to finance, technology and equipment.
It will also increase knowledge, support the mining and processing of the minerals in accordance with best practices, including with regards to environmental and social protections.