The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has described the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as partner of choice for the federal government in the execution and successful delivery of major infrastructure projects.
She spoke at the plenary on Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) at Africa Investment Forum (AIF – 2022), in Abidjan, Cote de’Ivoire, according to Yunusa Abdullahi, her Special Adviser, Media & Communications, in statement, today.
The minister was quoted as saying, “Through the NSIA, we are building key roads and bridges under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.
“We have revived our fertiliser blending facilities through the supply of high quality NPK under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative and are partnering with Morocco to build an Ammonia plant.
“We are supporting artisanal and small-scale miners while building up our reserves through the presidential artisanal gold mining initiative.
“We have also commenced our journey towards the adoption of clean energy starting off with the development of a 10MW Grid Solar Plant. We have constructed cancer and medical diagnostic centres across the country.
“We recently commissioned a state-of-the-art animal feed facility linked to hundreds of hectares of maize farms. We are tackling today’s problems head on. We allocated a certain proportion of NSIA’s funds for investments in innovative pioneer sectors within and outside Nigeria.”
The minister added that NSIA had a sizeable percentage of its funds invested in equities and bonds in Europe, America and Asia.
Mrs. Ahmed said that, successful African SWFs were those that balanced local needs such as infrastructure versus their country’s long-term outlook for stability in periods of distress.
“Our hope is that the next five years will be less dramatic and more predictable so we can plan properly for that rainy day, whatever it maybe.
Speaking further, she recalled when the discussion in Nigeria started some 10 years ago, right after the oil price crash of the late 2000s. Nigeria’s focus then was about stabilisation. “We wanted to have something ‘safely tucked’ away to hedge us against the cyclical volatility of being an oil economy.
She said: “We wanted and needed to save for a rainy day. However, we did not define what that rainy day is. I am sure many of you will agree that the last five years has been constantly wet. Every day was a rainy day.”
Mrs. Ahmed urged African governments to better prepare for economic disruptions occasioned by difficult financial positions, by building fiscal buffers.
Her words, “We have a growing population. We have climate change in the form of floods, droughts and desertification and their adverse impact on food security. We have pockets of insecurity. Then there is the pandemic of course.
“With these competing demands, it takes a very strong and focused leadership to think about saving. Here, I am pleased to say Nigeria has done very well.
When Nigeria’s SWF commenced operations in 2012, its capital was $1billion. We had money then, she noted.
“But since its inception, the fund did not receive any additional capital till 2016/2017 when the Buhari administration came in. We were very quick to identify the importance of the NSIA in Nigeria’s development. Therefore, we focused on ensuring it gets funded, no matter how little, regardless of our fiscal challenges.
“Our administration has been gradually injecting money into the NSIA. At the end of 2021, NSIA’s core assets under management has now grown to $2.2billion since commencement of its operations and we have about $4bn in total assets regardless of the many rainy days we went through recently. And the fund has been profitable consistently.”
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