By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has disclosed that money in the pool of the country’s sovereign wealth fund stands at $2 billion this September.
The investment agency said it is seeking further growth through agriculture and the addition of asset management.
Chief executive officer of NSIA, Uche Orji, who gave the hint in Astana, the Kazakhstan’s capital, noted that government’s contribution stands at $1.5 billion, while the rest include funds owned by the institution and those managed for several government agencies.
The authority has revamped 11 fertilizer-blending plants so far this year as part of federal government’s initiative to boost farming output and reduce the economy’s dependence on oil, which contributes two-thirds of government revenue.
“At the moment, agriculture is our number one area of investment”, Orji said, adding that the NSIA is planning to rehabilitate another nine fertilizer-blending plants within a year.
The 11 plants delivered six million bags of fertilizer at 30 per cent below market prices, halting government subsidies, even as the project created 50,000 jobs and saved the government N50 billion ($139 million) that would have gone into subsidies this year.
Orji said the wealth fund also wants to expand by going beyond government cash injections to undertaking asset management. “That’s the major line of conversation we are having with various agencies and various arms of the government”, he said.
He added that the fund will soon announce a joint venture in health care with a partner he declined to name.
Nigeria’s economy, which vies with South Africa’s as the largest on the continent, expanded in the second quarter by 0.55 per cent as agricultural and oil output increased, ending its worst slump in 25 years.
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