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Nasarawa earns first signature bonus in mining, to access $4m for business enabling reforms

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Nasarawa Governor Engineer Abdullahi Sule

By our reporter

For the first time since its creation, Nasarawa State will earn its first signature bonus in mining following the agreement reached with Avatar New Energy Materials Co Ltd that will establish its second lithium factory in Udege.

Governor Abdullahi Sule disclosed this while chairing the quarterly Nasarawa Enabling Business Environment Council (NEBEC), at the Government House, Lafia on Thursday.

Governor Sule explained that part of the agreement entered with Avatar is that the company will not only pay a signature bonus into the state government account, the firm also undertakes to pay a percentage for every ton of lithium to be mined at the new site to the coffers of Nasarawa State.

He explained that this was only made possible because the Nasarawa State Government has interest in part of the land where Avatar will establish its second lithium factory.

“In part of that area where the factory will be established, the Nasarawa State government has an interest. They are concluding right now with the Commissioner for Environment about the signature bonus that would be paid to the account of the state government. Once they conclude, for the first time in the history of the state, we will receive a signature bonus as a result of mining.

“In addition to that, we came up with an agreement about how much the state will continue to get for every ton of lithium. That is a part of our agreement. The exciting thing about that aspect is that, even after I am gone, the benefits of our structure are going to be there. The next administration will continue to utilize that percentage of what is going to come to the state,” he stated.

This just as Governor Sule announced that Nasarawa State has joined seven other states in the country to qualify for the State Action Business Enabling Reforms (SABER), with the state poised to access $4 million.

“I am happy to inform you that Nasarawa State has made all the requirements of SABER, and Nasarawa State is among the seven states in the country under the programme. We remain committed to these ideals, and we shall continue to provide the required support in order for us to have seamless platforms for these businesses,” he assured.

The Governor therfore tasked all relevant stakeholders, chief executives, and business related MDAs to continue to collaborate closely with each other in order for the state to continue on this line of success.

He explained that the NEBEC with him as Chairman, sits quarterly in order to take far-reaching decisions that would provide and make the state’s environment conducive for businesses to thrive.

According to him, the council has continued to play very significant role in ensuring that the state participates and meets the requirements for the SABER, a World Bank and Federal Government assisted programme.

“At the end of this meeting, I trust all other necessary actions that have been taken by the relevant stakeholders will be implemented. The decisions taken by the council would be fully implemented,” he stated.

It’s on record that, states must achieve the annual eligibility criteria as prerequisites for being part of programme’s result- based financing, with Nasarawa State now in pole position to access four million dollars.

The council equally reviewed the just concluded second Nasarawa Investment Summit, with the Chairman commending the Nasarawa Investment Development Agency (NASIDA) for organizing a successful summit.

Governor Sule announced that forty million naira was received as part of the donation by the Dangote Group, with the money channeled to NASIDA.

“Also, just to conclude, in the area of business. Let me also congratulate the NASIDA for putting together a very successful investment summit that we have had. This morning the Dangote Group also donated 40 million naira that is coming to NASIDA,” he stated.

Some commissioners and heads of MDAs addressed the media shortly after the NEBEC meeting.

Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Hon. Yakubu Kwanta, commended Governor Sule for creating enabling business environment in the state that is attracting investors into Nasarawa State.

On his part, Managing Director/CEO, Nasarawa Investment Development Agency (NASIDA), Ibrahim Abdullahi, said the NEBEC meeting sits quarterly to discuss the state’s business environment and deliberate and bring up solutions that would continue to improve the state’s attractiveness, effectiveness and competiveness with the sole aim of making it conducive for businesses to thrive.

Abdullahi said the meeting on Thursday received updates on the implementation of the state’s action for enabling business reforms, which is a World Bank programme for results in which all Nigerian states are participating.

“We are very happy to announce that Nasarawa State has made tremendous progress. We have qualified for the SABER prior results which gives the state the sum of 4m dollars under the prior results programme.

“We will continue to work on other DLIs to achieve the objectives of the programme both for 2023. We are currently under review for results implemented in 2023. We will continue to implement the results for 2024,” he said.

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