By ISAAC ANUMIHE
Acting Managing Director of Nigeria Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank, Mr Bashir Wali yesterday explained the importance of boosting investments in agro-processing, and solid minerals, with the N500 billion Export Stimulation Facility (ESF) and the N50 billion Export Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility (ERRF).
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the governor in Bauchi Liaison office, Abuja, Wali told the governor that NEXIM Bank recently launched a N500 billion Export Stimulation Facility (ESF) and the N50 billion Export Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility (ERRF) which were provided as intervention funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of efforts of the Federal Government to address the persistent overdependence of the economy on revenue from crude oil export.
On the guidelines to access the funds, Wali explained that all applications under the intervention schemes are expected to be submitted through commercial banks or other development finance institutions.
“After a satisfactory review of the applications in line with the eligibility criteria provided in the CBN guidelines, the PFIs will then forward such applications to NEXIM. The bank will in turn do a further review of the applications within a period of time not exceeding 20 working days before forwarding the applications to the Central Bank of Nigeria for approval and funding. In terms of cost, the ESF comes at a maximum interest rate of 7.5 per cent for short-tenored transactions spanning up to three years, and 9 per cent for longer term transactions that are up to 10 years. The RRF on the other hand comes at a maximum all-in cost interest rate of 6 per cent” he said.
In his remarks, the State Governor expressed his appreciation for the courtesy call on him and provided a snapshot of Bauchi State, especially its resources and other potentials. According to him, Bauchi State covers a total land area of 49,259.01 square kilometres which represents about 5.3 per cent of Nigeria’s total landmass, making it one of the largest states in the country.
He informed Wali that agriculture is the mainstay of over 80 per cent of people who reside in both urban and rural areas with products ranging from maize, rice, millet, groundnut and guinea corn. Additionally, he said, cattle and other livestock are reared at a commercially viable level.
“In terms of solid minerals, Abubakar indicated that the state has commercial mineral reserves comprising amethyst, gypsum, lead/zinc, uranium, limestone, kaolin, gypsum, antimony, iron ore, gold, marble, columbite and zinc, precious stones like sulphur, amities and aquamarine among others. In addition to this, Bauchi has a manufacturing sector covering iron and steel, water, ceramics, food and beverages etc” the governor, noted.
However, he identified certain constraints that have facilitated the commercial exploration of the solid minerals in the state. These, he said, include the issues of licensing, considering that solid mineral is on the exclusive list; the paucity of data in terms of certification of available deposits; and the need to efficiently organise artisanal mining as well as establish beneficiation centres to boost the solid mineral value-chain in the State.