From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Federal Government has secured firm commitments in fresh Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) worth about $305 million.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Dr. Uche Orji, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a media briefing on its third quarter 2016 operations, said the investments are in agriculture, infrastructure credit financing (infracredit) and estate development.
According to him, NSIA was earmarking an additional $10 million to revamp the 15-year-old moribund Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX), Abuja, as a prelude to selling it. He assured that the agency was poised to complete the Second Niger Bridge project by 2020, stating that all pending issues that hitherto stalled the project have been addressed.
“There were some of the grey areas and they have been settled and the contractors had been mobilised back to site. There is a new financing strategy we are going to be discussing with the Ministry of Works and if that is achieved, you’ll see speedy progress having realised a bit of time was lost but we are back on track. However, the financing structure will change. Once it is approved, it will move faster.
“Are we still looking up to completion date of 2020? I think so. I will be able to give a definitive answer in another three months as soon as our financing plan is approved,” he explained.
Orji also said NSIA has since submitted its operations report to its Governing Council at the 74th session of the National Economic Council, which approved that $250 million additional capital be injected into the establishment.
“On agriculture fund, we have $105 million of FDIs. These are commitments people have signed up. Most of them were signed and the money still held offshore. As we close transactions, the money will come in.
For real estate, $100 million has been secured, for infra-credit, another $100 million of contingent credit has been secured.
“These are the ones that are in our hands today. There are still ones that would come and when they come, we’ll let you know,” he said.
On Commodity Exchange, Orji said the injection of capital should not be misconstrued for halting privatisation process, noting that the Exchange is being revived to attract value as against selling it as scrap. He said NSIA has a balance of $255 million in the stabilisation fund account, adding that the government is at the liberty to borrow from it if it deems it fit.
On 2017 outlook, Orji said the organisation plans to increase its domestic infrastructure investment, adding that, “there are compelling opportunities in today’s environment. We have to focus on social infrastructure such as affordable housing.”