Minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said the Nigerian capital market is a catalyst for the development of the critical sectors of the economy as it poses a credible platform for obtaining medium to long-term finance.

Ahmed made the remark during a webinar with the theme, “Financing the Solid Minerals Sector through the Capital Market and the Critical Role of Commodity Exchanges,” yesterday.

Ahmed explained that  the facilitation of funding and provision of structured market platforms such as the commodities exchanges portend significant addition for the mining and solid minerals sector, saying that the event and its theme are very relevant to the economy given the need to diversify and grow the economy and to enable the nation achieve sustainable development in the post covid-19 pandemic.

According to her, “Given the economic challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing efforts of the federal government to achieve economic diversification has been affected by a decline in revenue, underlined by volatility in global oil prices which is our main source of foreign exchange earnings.

“The mining sector is strategically based as an alternative source of revenue generation in the economic diversification plan of the federal government of Nigeria. It also has the potential to create employment and develop rural settings for other benefits.

“The mineral export guidelines by the federal government was formulated to address the need to keep accurately mineral trade data, ensure effective monitoring of the evacuation of export proceeds, to optimise the collection of royalties, and facilitate the implementation of free shipment inspection policies of government on each export transaction, as this is international best practice in line with the Marrakesh Protocol of GATT 1994.”

Ahmed noted that the initiative of employing the commodities exchange in this regard would encourage responsible accounting and fairness.