Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Sovereign Wealth Fund Becomes Operational March 2013 - FG

Abuja — The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, will become fully operational and commence investment in March, next year, following the approval of its Strategy Document by the Board of Directors.

According to a statement issued, in Abuja, yesterday, by Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Strategy Document was ratified by the Board led by its Chairman, Alhaji Mahey Rasheed.

He said that the board met twice since its inauguration on October 9 to review and reshape the draft submitted by the management team led by the Managing Director, MD, of NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji, with a view to ensuring an accelerated preparation of blue print.

The Spokesman also revealed that the NSIA investment policy guidelines and the processes for the three fund mandates of the organisation have almost been finalised with efforts to hire its key personnel and acquire a functional office having reached an advanced stage.

Mr. Nwabuikwu quoted Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, as saying that with a world-class team of experts the NSIA would open a new vista of opportunities to rapidly grow the nation's economy by attracting a high net worth of international investors to the country.

"There is still a lot of hard work ahead, we need to remain focused and disciplined so that we can reap the rewards. We are not yet there but we are on the right track. The question we must keep asking ourselves is: Other countries have benefitted from SWF. Why not Nigeria?", she said.

Mr. Orji, who was appointed MD in October following an international head hunt, explained the status of plans to appoint a Chief Investment Officer, CIO, for the organisation:

"We are in the process of filling the role of the CIO. We received 300 resumes for the CIO role and will soon commence the process of short-listing the candidates. We hope to have the interviews early next year and have a CIO in place by early March", he said.

He stated that other key management and staff positions in the NSIA will be advertised starting today (December 21) and projected that the full complement of staff would be in place by the first quarter of next year.

The MD assured that his team would maximize the business returns for Nigerians through a prudent of management of the fund and that the organization would have a lean operating model at the early stages.

He also emphasised that in seeking the best investments for Nigeria, the NSIA will not limit itself but will search for the best deals wherever they can be found in the world.

"There are no geographical restrictions or product restrictions for the Future Generation and Fiscal Stabilisation Fund, and we expect to invest across the full spectrum of products (equities, fixed income, alternative assets, etc.), in accordance with our five year rolling plan, that will provide a superior risk adjusted returns for the future generations of Nigerians," he said.

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