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Nigeria’s Sovereign Investment Authority governing council takes-off with the swearing in of members

By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Oct. 7, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

NIGERIA’S Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, now has governing board. At its inauguration ceremony which took place at the Aso Rock Villa on Thursday, September 19, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by Namadi Sambo, vice president, issued share certificates of contributions to the Sovereign Wealth Fund to the federal, state, and local governments.

Jonathan said the inauguration of the council signified the progress made so far in the running of the sovereign wealth fund. He urged members of the council to always exhibit the virtues of accountability and compliance in line with the international best practices to maintain the trust of all stakeholders in the fund.

The president also noted that all over the world, the sovereign wealth fund had been instrumental to the fiscal development in countries running them. He listed the objectives of the NSIA to include building a saving base for future generations of Nigeria, enhancing the development of Nigeria’s infrastructures and promoting fiscal stability for the country in times of economic stress. He, therefore, called on government officials at all levels to ensure that the objectives of Nigeria’s own Fund were achieved through the commitment of their contributions.

“I am happy to report that the board and the management team of the NSIA have set about implementing robust governance and investment structures toward the achievement of its laudable objectives and the international community is already taking note of their efforts.” The president also hinged the success of the fund on continuous contributions by the people involved. “The initial $1 billion (about N156 billion) investment is not inconsequential but the sustainability of our sovereign wealth fund depends on our continuous contributions.”

Lamido Sanusi

In his remarks, Mahey Rasheed, chairman of the board, commended the government for setting up the authority in a bid to build a saving base for the present and future generations of Nigerians. He expressed delight that the NSIA had been significantly recognised as a potential investment power house by global investment partners.

“As a testimony to our hard work in establishing international best practices in governance and investment procedures, the NSIA is already in the top ranking chart of the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.”

Rasheed, also stated that the NSIA has received many expressions of interests from many international finance institutions and other Sovereign Wealth Funds to partner with it in investing in Nigeria. “Furthermore, we have been invited to be a member of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Fund, based in Oslo, Norway, at its meeting scheduled to hold on Oct. 2. It is also interesting to inform you that we have received accolades and statements of recognition by opinion leaders in many international financial markets.”

Nigeria’s Sovereign Investment Authority was set up to manage Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, where all the surplus incomes generated from Nigeria’s crude oil sales is to be deposited. The fund had begun with an initial deposit of $1 billion in seed capital contributed from the excess crude account. The wealth fund commenced operations in October 2012 with the objectives of investing the savings gained on the difference between the budgeted and actual market prices for oil to earn returns that would benefit future generations of Nigerians.

Members of the governing council include the president, represented by the vice-president, who will chair the council, while the 36 state governors, the attorney-general of the federation and the minister of finance would serve as members. Other members are the minister of national planning, the Central Bank Governor, the chief economic adviser to the president and the chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission.

Non-statutory members of the council, whose nominations are subject to the confirmation by the Senate as stipulated by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority establishment Act of 2011, will join the council at a later date.

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