Investment of the $1billion so far set aside for the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) is set to commence in March next year.
The much talked about Fund is also making progress towards becoming fully operational as the Strategy Document which would guide its operations is now ready.
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who gave a progress report of the SWF yesterday, stated that the country waspoised to benefit significantly if the momentum was maintained.
She also disclosed that the Fund’s investment policy guidelines and the processes for the three fund mandates of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) were almost finalised.
The Strategy Document was ratified by the Board of the NSIA led by Alhaji Mahey Rasheed (OFR) and to ensure that the blue print was ready on time, the minister said the board had met twice since its inauguration on October 9 to review and reshape the draft submitted by the management team led by Uche Orji, the managing director of NSIA.
Okonjo-Iweala stated that efforts to hire key personnel and acquire a functional office have reached an advanced stage.
“There is still a lot of hard work ahead, we need to remain focused and disciplined so that we can reap the rewards. We are not yet there but we are on the right track. The question we must keep asking ourselves is: Other countries have benefitted from SWF, why not Nigeria?”
Orji, who was appointed MD in October following an international head hunt, explained the status of plans to appoint a Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for the organisation
“We are in the process of filling the role of the CIO. We received 300 resumes for the CIO role and will soon commence the process of short-listing the candidates. We hope to have the interviews early next year and have a CIO in place by early March.
He stated that other key management and staff positions in the NSIA would be advertised starting today and the projection was that the full complement of staff would be in place by the first quarter of 2013.
To ensure that resources are maximised, Orji stressed that prudence was the cornerstone of management at the NSIA, adding that the organisation would have a lean operating model at the early stages.
He also emphasised that in seeking the best investments for Nigeria, the NSIA would not limit itself but would search for the best deals wherever they could be found in the world.
In his words: “There are no geographical restrictions or product restrictions for the Future Generation and Fiscal Stabilisation Fund, and we expect to invest across the full spectrum of products (equities, fixed income, alternative assets, etc.), in accordance with our five-year rolling plan, that will provide a superior risk adjusted returns for the future generations of Nigerians.”
The mission of the NSIA is to build a savings base for the Nigerian People, enhance the development of Nigerian Infrastructure, and also provide stabilisation support in times of economic stress.
“There are three fund mandates that were established by the Act and these are the Future Generation Fund (FGF), Nigeria Infrastructure Fund(NIF), and Fiscal Stabilisation Fund(FSF) with each fund holding at least 20 per cent of the assets under management.