BY EMMA UJAH, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF
ABUJA — The Minister of Finance, Mr. Segun Aganga, yesterday, described the Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF, as a win-win situation and explained that it would be managed in a transparent, prudent and accountable manner to create an avenue for an accelerated transformation of the nation’s economy.
“This is a defining moment for the country and in particular the way we manage our resources. With the Sovereign Wealth Fund, we will be able to develop, create wealth and at the same time make adequate savings for our children and generations to come. It is a win-win situation,” he said.
Aganga, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, gave an insight into how the Federal Government wanted the fund to be administered.
He stressed that it would be private sector-driven in such a way that it could meet set objectives of creating a pool of resources for rapid infrastructure transformation and diversify the nation’s economic base.
According to him, “there will be three main pegs of the fund. There would be savings for future generations which will be invested in equities and other long-term instruments; there will be a Stabilisation Fund to fall back on in case of a sharp fall in the nation’s foreign exchange earnings; and the third segment would be used for massive investment in infrastructure.”
Aganga said the fund would have a council to be headed by the President as chairman, and, to comprise state executives, representatives of women, students and private sector operators. It would also have a board and management of financial experts.
In the interim, the minister said he would constitute a four-member selection committee to scout for renowned fund managers and recommend them to the President through his (minister’s) office.
According to the minister, the SWF would co_invest in large scale projects in collaboration with both local and foreign investors who can be easily identified across the globe and were prepared to invest in the nation.
“It will attract infrastructure funds from other organization from other countries which are ready to invest in our economy. These are funds where if you put down N 1 billion for instance, that N 1 can attract an addition N5 billion or N 6 billion” , he said.
According to the minister, the Algeria which started a similar wealth fund in 2000 has grown the money from its take seed of $ 1 billion to a current $ 50 billion.
He said that even Ghana which has not yet started commercial oil production was already making moves to establish one and that it was the right way to go.
Mr. Aganga declined a question on how much was paid to the National Assembly in bribes to pass the SWF Bill, saying that the legislators had asked for an investigation and that Nigerians should await the outcome of that exercise.