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Why govs changed stand on SWF – Uduaghan

By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA— Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State said, weekend, that the 36 state governors dropped their earlier opposition to the Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF, because Minister of Finance and that of Trade and Investment, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mr. Olusegun Aganga, respectively, offered satisfactory explanations.

The governor disclosed that following series of very revealing discus-sions they had with the two representatives of the Federal Government, especially members of the National Economic Management Team, NEMT, they (governors) were compelled to with-draw their initial opposition.

Fielding questions from state house correspon-dents in Abuja, Uduaghan said SWF was about saving for the rainy day, adding that the only difference was that the saving was external.

According to him, the understanding is that the interest that the money invested would yield will be spent on develop-mental projects across the country.

Uduaghan explained that Nigerian Governors Forum’s initial opposition to SWF was based on two factors that the legal aspect of the fund was not properly set up and second, that the financial pressures on state governments may make saving a difficult task.

Uduaghan said: “We considered whether the states have enough to meet their various needs, especially with the increase in salary.

“A lot of discussions have gone into it. As at today, state governors are working with the Federal Government on this.”

Uduaghan further said state governors decided to back the position of the Federal Government on the planned removal of fuel subsidy because it was revealed in the National Assembly last week that the Federal Government had already overspent the sum earmarked for fuel subsi-dy in the 2011 budget.

This, the governor, said was against the law, noting that rather than continue with subsidy that would be beneficial to a clique, the money saved from the withdrawal could be used to develop infrastructure across the country.


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