Nigeria Offers Three-Year Tax Holiday to Mining Investors

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria offered a three-year tax holiday to mining investors as the West African nation seeks to raise as much as $7 billion to develop its minerals and steel industries.

The tax incentive will start "from the date the investor commences mining operations in the country," Mines and Steel Development Minister Kayode Fayemi told prospective investors at a meeting in Perth, Australia, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s website. He confirmed deposits of nickel were discovered in the northern Kaduna state.

Other incentives to lure investors include 100 percent foreign ownership of mining projects, and an exemption of import duties on mining equipment, according to the statement. The Nigerian government also pledged to boost security around mining sites.

Nigeria’s plans to diversify its oil-dominated economy into solid-mineral development and agriculture intensified after a slump in crude prices caused an economic contraction in the first and second quarters. The International Monetary Fund forecast the economy will shrink 1.8 percent this year, the first full-year decline since 1991.