The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority yesterday said it has saved over $350million from the erstwhile payments on subsidy and import substitution through the implementation of the presidential fertilizer initiative (PFI).
Following notable successes and transformative impact of the PFI over the past four years, the presidency had approved its restructuring, beginning from the 2021 cycle with various modifications.
Under the modifications, the NSIA has been transitioned to an upstream player, thereby limiting its involvement to importation, storage and the wholesale of raw materials to blenders.
The NSIA subsidiary, NAIC-NPK Limited, will be spun off to the Ministry of Finance Incorporated.
Chairman, implementing committee of the PFI and governor of Jigawa State, Mohammed Abubakar Badaru, who gave the hint, said the programme has in many ways served to augment the administration’s policy-driven programmes to diversify the Nigerian economy.
He said, “In the main, the programme has bolstered Nigeria’s industrial base, resuscitated, and strengthened domestic production capacity for fertiliser, eliminated to the huge fertiliser subsidy burden placed on Federal Government, created thousands of direct and indirect jobs and alleviated the plight of the domestic farmer by ensuring availability of fertiliser.
“Clearly, the programme is a strong value proposition for the nation in the agriculture space given the variety of socio-economic benefits it presents. We are grateful to Mr. President for creating this programme and look forwards to supporting the next phase as it evolves.”
Also speaking on the development, managing director and chief executive officer of NSIA, Uche Orji, said with the support of the President, the programme has accomplished its principal objectives.
He said, “Having fulfilled the establishment, stabilization, and market discipline phase of PFI, the primary objective of which was to revive the blending plants and create a viable domestic blending industry, we believe the PFI should gradually evolve into the next phase, which is a tactical withdrawal of intervention in the industry and the emergence of a self-sufficient, sustainable, and efficiently operated market.
“NSIA is pleased with the Government’s decision and looks forward to seeing the innovation and creativity which will characterize the open market in the sector”.
On his part, Thomas Etuh, chairman of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria, said that the restructuring is a welcome development for FEPSAN.
He said, “The new approach will afford operators the opportunity to build recognizable and trusted brand while ramping up distribution nationwide”.
Within four years of the initiative, the programme has delivered on key outcomes including over 30 million bags of 50kg NPK 20:10:10 equivalent spanning project period; price reduction on fertilizer from over N10,000 to under N5,500.
It also said that 41 blending plants have been resuscitated from an initial number of four plants at project inception, adding that an estimated 250,000 jobs (direct and indirect)across the agriculture value chain including in logistics, ports, bagging, rail, industrial warehousing, and haulage touchpoints amongst others have been created.