The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has stated that the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority has proven to be the partner of choice for the Federal Government in the execution and successful delivery of major infrastructure projects and transformational initiatives with national impact.
In her opening remarks at the plenary session on Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) at Africa Investment Forum, she said through the NSIA, the government is building key roads and bridges under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.
The Minister stated: “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.”
She stated further that the government has also commenced the journey towards the adoption of clean energy starting off with the development of a 10MW Grid Solar Plant.
Ahmed added, “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.
“And of course, we have a sizeable percentage invested in equities and bonds in Europe, America and Asia. In today’s climate, this last fund is the one that is keeping me awake at night.
Ahmed explained further that overall, successful African SWFs are those that strike a balance between meeting the local immediate needs such as infrastructure and Nigeria’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,” she added.
Speaking further, she recalled when the discussion in Nigeria started some 10 years ago, right after the oil price crash of the late 2000s.
The Minister said, “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.
“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. Everyday was a rainy day.
“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.”