By OKEY ONYENWEAKU

Nigeria stands to benefit immensely by being consistent in its contributions to the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), its Managing Director, Uche Orji has said.

According to him, the country has only $1.5billion in its kitty today which ranks it 56 in the lower bracket of countries with Sovereign Wealth Funds, SWF total assets under management.

Going by the ranking which places Government Pension Fund Global (Norges Bank) of Norway in the top position with $989.90billion, it comes out that Nigeria’s Sovereign Investment Authority is only a notch higher than SONSIS, the Senegal Sovereign Wealth Fund which is valued at $1billion.

Speaking with journalists in Lagos on Saturday June 15, 2019, NSIA Managing Director, Uche Orji, said the country was basically on track with its Sovereign Wealth Investment but needed to boost it with more funding in order to reap its full benefits in the short and long term.

He explained that the country was still very far behind the rest of the world in terms of savings in its fund.

“The Norway story is one that I like to tell all the time. The reason is because in one of my earliest jobs in 1998, the team I worked for was one of those that managed the Norwegian SWF’s assets.

“They started in 1993 with $10 billion and to see them now at over $1 trillion speaks to the power of consistent contributions. In 2013, it was reported that the Norwegians were putting in $1 billion a week into that fund.

“So, it doesn’t really matter how much you start with, what matters is how consistent you are. So, I think if there is one thing we need to do as a people and if we need to be serious about this, there must be consistent contributions,” he said.

Orji said he was optimistic that the National Assembly would pass a legislation to promote consistency in contribution to the fund.

“We need to get more money into the fund. It is extremely important to us because if we end up investing all the funds in our infrastructure fund, we might run out of capital and you have your margin squeezed,” he added.

Orji assured that the management of NSIA would remain focused to achieve great milestones despite volatilities in the markets created by political instability and trade wars in the west.

Meanwhile, NSIA has reported six straight years of profitability in all its funds with core profits, posting a profit of N28.45 billion from 2012 to 2018, excluding FX translation gains and total profit of ₦46.50 billion (including FX transactions)

The NSIA helmsman revealed these in a presentation over the weekend, noted that the organization earned $87.5 million in 2018 alone.

He noted however, that as the country’s authority is shifting focus towards infrastructure and direct investments, returns will incubate longer and as a consequence, cash available for market-driven investments will decline.

Despite this reality, he said NSIA’s “total profits increased from ₦22.55 billion in 2017 to ₦46.50 billion (including FX translation gains) in 2018.”

Orji revealed that by the end of 2018, NSIA had N617.69 billion assets under management. And in addition to core funds, it also managed third party funds including the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF)

A breakdown of the company’s returns in its 2018 Breakdown of Returns showed that the Stabilisation Fund added 11.50 percent; Future Generations Fund 3.30 percent; and the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund, 13.80 percent, against a benchmark of 2 percent, 6 percent and 3-5 percent respectively.

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