Mr. Bashir M. Wali, the Acting MD/CEO met with the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, His Excellency, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar at the State Liaison Office in Abuja to discuss opportunities to collaborate with the State towards boosting export-oriented investments in agro-processing, solid minerals and solid minerals, especially under the N500 billionExport Stimulation Facility (ESF) and the N50 billion Export Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility (ERRF).
Welcoming Wali and his team, the State Governor expressed his appreciation for the August visit and provided a snapshot of Bauchi State, especially its resources and other potentials.
According to Governor Abubakar, Bauchi State covers a total land area of 49,259.01 square kilometres which represents about 5.3% of Nigeria’s total land mass, 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, cattle and other livestock are reared at a commercially viable level.
In terms of solid minerals, Governor Abubakar indicated that the State has commercial mineral reserves comprising of 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, however, identified certain constraints that have hindered the commercial exploration of the solid minerals in the State. These include the issues of licensing – considering that solid minerals 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.
Concluding, Governor Abubakar indicated that one of the most viable potentials in the State is the tourism sector.
Bauchi is home to the Yankari Games Reserve (the biggest games reserve in West Africa), occupying an area of 2,224.59 square kilometres. Other notable tourist centres in the State include the Premier Game Reserve, Rock Paintings, the First Mining Beacon of Tilden-Fulani, the Panshanu Stone Heaps, Lame-Burra Game Reserve, Sumu Wildlife Park, Geji Rock Paintings of the Neolithic age, the Babban Gwani Architectural Designs at Bauchi and Kafin Madaki and the International Bird Sanctuary of Udubo district.
The Acting MD of NEXIM thanked Governor Abubakar for receiving the Bank’s team at short notice and informed that the Bank was established to promote export diversification and deepening the non-oil export sector.
Accordingly, the Bank’s current strategic initiatives are targeted towards boosting employment creation and foreign exchange earnings in the Manufacturing, Agro-processing, Solid Minerals and Services – Tourism, Transportation and Entertainment sectors. This is the MASS Agenda of NEXIM Bank.
Wali used the opportunity to inform 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.
Narrating on the guidelines to Governor Abubakar, Wali indicated 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% for short-tenored transactions spanning up to three years, and 9% 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%.
However, considering that NEXIM Bank does not lend directly to government institutions, Wali suggested that the government should explore funding options with the Islamic Bank, Afrexim Bank or other such institutions at that level, while commercial proposals would be welcome from the private sector entities in the state for accessing facilities from the Bank. He subsequently presented the ESF/RRF guideline documents to the Governor.
Thanking the NEXIM MD, Governor Abubakar indicated that the courtesy visit was a step in the right direction and promised that arrangements would soon be put in place to have NEXIM Bank formally come to Bauchi State to meet with the state officials towards taking the conversation forward.