The House of Representatives Committee on Finance will in the next two weeks carry out an investigative hearing to determine the risk arising from the appointment of UBS and Goldman Sachs to manage the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), early this year, employed the services of JP Morgan, as the custodian of the $1 billion SWF, preparatory to its formal take off last March.
Shortly after, UBS and Goldman Sachs, were appointed by NSIA to manage the fund.
However, since their appointment, members of the House of Representatives have criticised their selection, stating that a conflict of interest could arise because the Managing Director/CEO of NSIA Uche Orji, was once an employee of UBS.
Bringing this to the attention of the House yesterday, Minority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who raised the motion for the probe, cited conflict of interest, noting that contrary to the code of conduct in the Fifth Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution, both Orji and the initiator of the fund, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who is currently the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, were former employees of UBS and Goldman Sachs, respectively.
Gbajabiamila, who expressed concern over the appointment of foreign financial institutions to manage the SWF, said it “amounts to entrusting Nigeria’s savings, wealth, economic sovereignty and security in the hands of foreigners.”
He was additionally perturbed that the appointment of the foreign firms preceded the establishment of the governing council, which was established by an Act of the National Assembly, “thus leaving the House in doubt as to the transparency of the process that led to their appointments.”
He stated that “the action taken by the NSIA, if not given a second look, may go a long way in empowering foreign institutions against their foreign counterparts, and further entrust Nigeria’s economic sovereignty and security in the hands of foreigners, a situation that would be too dangerous for the nation’s economic security.”
In addition, the House yesterday considered the appropriation of N315 million for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The motion for the NDDC Appropriation Bill was raised by Hon. Mutu Nicholas Ebomo.