The bill for seeking the establishment of a Solid Minerals Development Bank, which was sponsored by Senator Yakubu Oseni representing Kogi Central Senatorial District, on Tuesday passed its second reading in the upper legislative chamber.
The bank, according to Oseni, would address the lack of financing of the solid minerals sector by commercial banks in Nigeria.
According to him, the bank will serve as a development finance institution that seeks to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development and boost the solid minerals sector as well as the quality of life of the people by providing financial and non-financial investments in the sector.
One of the major objectives of the proposed bank is the specific funding needs of the mineral sector, a development he averred would complement efforts of the government to diversify the economy.
The lawmaker said: “The principal mission of the bank is to increase financial inclusion by providing access to credit finance.
“The bank will also support medium and long-term lending, with the duration of up to 10 years and a moratorium of up to 18 months which will enable borrowers in the sectors to have a longer period to repay the loans from the Solid Minerals Development Bank unlike the deposit money or commercial banks”
Addressing fears of hijacking the bank by the elite at a press conference with the Senate Press Corps, Oseni insisted that it wouldn’t be business as usual, while he urged the youths to mobilise themselves into the development of mineral resources so that they can benefit from the special finance institution once it comes on stream.
He expressed the belief that the bank would further tackle illegal mining across the country, noting that before a miner accesses loans and advances, his records would be properly checked.
After contributions by senators that led to the passage of the bill, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, referred it to the Committee on Solid Minerals for further public hearing.
He tasked the committee chairman to turn in reports in four weeks time for the third reading.