Better days coming —FG

Posted by News Express, Abuja | 29 August 2012 | 4,503 times

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Nigerians have been told to expect better days following the actualisation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) programme by the Federal Government.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, gave the hope-raising message while announcing the composition of the board and management team of the fund.

Speaking in Abuja at a well-attended media briefing held at one of the conference rooms of the Ministry of Finance, Okonjo-Iweala said that the Sovereign Wealth Fund “demonstrates the determination of the Federal Government to improve the lives of Nigerians through far-sighted policies and initiatives.”

According to her, “The establishment of an institutional foundation for the Sovereign Wealth Fund is a victory for all Nigerians and a credit to the President who assented to the Bill in May last year.”

Quoting from the Act establishing the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Okonjo-Iweala described the SWF as an independent statutory corporation with a mandate to do the following:

  1. Build a savings base for future generations of Nigerians;
  2. Enhance development of Nigerian infrastructure;
  3. Promote fiscal stability for the country in times of economic stress; and
  4. Carry out such other matters as may be necessary in furtherance of these objectives.

The minister assured that the launch of SWF “will make our country to be seen as a more attractive destination by both local and foreign investors.”

“We have started putting together a quality team to ensure that we realise the objectives that inspired the establishment of the SWF. I am sure the team realises what is at stake and is ready to do the necessary work so that the country can start enjoying the benefits as soon as possible,” the Okonjo-Iweala said.

She disclosed that a billion dollars has been set aside as initial funding for the SWF, adding that the fund will for now co-exist with the Excess Crude Account, upon which the SWF concept is anchored, but which “will eventually fold into the SAF.”

The minister announced the appointment of Alhaji Mahey Rasheed, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as Chairman of the NSIA and Mr. Uche Orji, a former Managing Director of JP Morgan and currently Co-Head of the U.S. Technical Sector Research at a prominent global investment bank, UBS, as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the SWF for a term of five years.

Orji, who emerged through a very competitive international selection process, is expected to start work on October 2.

*Photo: Okonjo-Iweala

Source: News Express

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