President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority to ensure accountability and gain the trust of all stakeholders in the management of the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the inauguration of the Sovereign Wealth Fund Council.
The President is the chairman of the council. Other members are the 36 state governors, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The ministers of Finance and National Planning as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Chief Economic Adviser to the President and Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission are also members of the council.
Advising the NSIA, Jonathan said, “I also expect that they (members of the council) will always exhibit the greatest possible accountability and compliance with the international best practices to gain and maintain the trust of all stakeholders in the fund.”
The President, who presented certificates of contribution to the representatives of the federal, state and local governments, said the management team of the NSIA was already implementing investment structures for the SWF.
According to him, the international community is already taking note of efforts of the NSIA management team.
He said the SWFC, which represents the broad ownership of the fund across all the three tiers of government, would provide guidance to the board of the NSIA.
According to him, Sovereign Wealth Funds all over the world have been instrumental for fiscal discipline and development.
He said that presentation of certificates was an indication that the SWF was collectively owned by the three tiers of government.
Jonathan said that objectives of the fund included building a savings base for the future generation and development of infrastructure.
The President stated that sovereign wealth funds and international investment institutions had already expressed their readiness to partner with the NSIA in the execution of projects in the country.
“We should all be encouraged to remain steadfast in making contributions to the fund. While the initial $1bn investment is not inconsequential and gives us credibility, the sustainability of our Sovereign Wealth Fund depends on our continuous contributions,” he said.
The President stated that the NSIA was evaluating some projects across the country, including the second Niger Bridge, the Gurara Dam Phase II and investments in seaports.
“It is pertinent to say that the development of well-conceived infrastructure projects by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority will also provide a platform for our national pension funds to be invested in credible undertakings,” Jonathan said.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Board of the NSIA, Mr. Mahey Rasheed, said the body had worked hard to implement its governance and operational framework.
Information from Punch was used in this report.