NSIA to invest more in infrastructure

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Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, which is the agency managing the Sovereign Wealth Fund, on Wednesday unveiled plans to inject more funds into the economy through investment in critical infrastructure.

The Managing Director, NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji, disclosed this while presenting the third quarter financial results as well as the 2017 economic outlook of the agency.

The SWF, which was set up in 2013 with about $1.55bn, has three pots from which investments can be anchored.

The pots are Future Generation Fund, Infrastructure Fund and Fiscal Stabilisation Fund.

The NSIA had allocated 20 per cent of the money in its custody to the Stabilisation Fund; 40 per cent to the Future Generation Fund; and another 40 per cent to the Infrastructure Fund.

Just last week, the National Economic Council gave approval that the sum of $250m be injected as additional capital into the SWF.

Orji said that the strategy of the agency in the 2017 fiscal period was to reduce the level of its offshore investment, while focusing on how to take advantage of the huge opportunities in the domestic economy.

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He gave the priority areas as agriculture, health care, motorways, real estate and power. Others are communications, aviation, rail, waste and sewage, gas pipelines, ports, industrial parks, mining and refining.

He said, “We will be cautions in 2017 and also maintain a diversified portfolio. We are going to be increasing our domestic investment in infrastructure owing to the potential and opportunities that are in the domestic economy.

“The NSIA will invest $760m in the second Niger Bridge project being built in conjunction with Julius Berger. We will also directly invest in the Customs National Single Window project to improve the technology platform of the Customs to increase revenue collection and enhance efficiency.

“Also, the NSIA and Old Mutual will commit $500m for investment in commercial and retail assets. We will also invest in the middle market industrialisation projects to stimulate the economy.”

He said the level of uncertainty in the economy had created fears among investors in the domestic economy, adding that the interest of the NSIA in it had been further rekindled by the investor apathy.

In a bid to achieve this, Orji said the management of the agency had decided to set aside 10 per cent of its funds for domestic investment this year.

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He added that the agency would be taking over the Nigerian Commodities Exchange under a pre-privatisation investment arrangement, adding that this would enable the NSIA to inject about $10m to revive the Exchange.

Orji noted that under the arrangement, the NSIA would revive the commodities exchange by adding value to its operations and making it more attractive for investors before its final privatisation by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

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