President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the new board of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to make more investments that support economic diversification, as global oil prices are projected to drop to around $40 per barrel by 2030.
He gave the charge on Wednesday at the inauguration of the third NSIA board in Abuja, shortly before he chaired a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“The bar before you is very high and all of us are counting on you to deliver,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina. “If you do, I assure you that the government and indeed all Nigerians will be unflinching in their support for you.”
The President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to implementing long-term projects and programmes that create jobs for Nigerians.
He noted that the full impact of most of the strategic projects started under his watch would only be felt long after he had left office.
President Buhari described the appointment of the nine-man board as a call to duty, action, and performance, stressing that they were eminently qualified for the job.
“This government operates on the agenda for long-term change which we all agree is inevitable. Change happens whether you are ready for it or not. As representatives of the federation, you are required to continue to drive the performance of the authority to deliver benefits to all Nigerians.
“You must bear in mind that the National Economic Council, your Governing Council and Nigerians as a whole, will hold you accountable for this mandate,” he told the board.
“Periodically, you will be required to provide evidence of your stewardship at the Governing Council meetings where your performance will be assessed.”
The President recounted that NSIA, as one of Nigeria’s premier economic institutions, was conceived to be a store of wealth that may be drawn upon at times of economic challenges, thereby encouraging external investors and lenders.
He expressed delight that so far the institution has discharged its mandate dutifully, and used the occasion to thank the last Board of Directors whose tenure ended in May.
President Buhari said the immediate past board “guided the organisation through a critical stage of its existence and have left it standing as a credible world-class institution that turns out consistently good results.
“This administration took the very difficult decision to invest for the long term. We avoided taking shortcuts knowing very well that the full impact of most of the projects we started will only be felt long after we have left office.
“Accordingly, in the past four years, both the public and private sectors in Nigeria have partnered on strategic projects with the NSIA.”
The new board members are Farouk Gumel (North West), Non-Executive Chairman; Babatunde Sobamowo (South West), Non-Executive Director; Isiekwena Louis (South South), Non-Executive Director; Ali Kadugum (North East), Non-Executive Director; Oniyangi Sulaiman (North Central), Non-Executive Director; and Ike Chioke (South East), Non-Executive Director.
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said from the base position of $1 billion when the administration assumed office in 2015, NSIA now has around $3.5 billion in assets under management.
She explained that on behalf of the Nigerian people, the board would guide and oversee the NSIA management’s activities towards delivering outcomes to transform the fortunes of the country.
“Using the NSIA Act as its guide, the Board will be required to superintend initiatives that meet the current and future needs of Nigerians,” the minister said.
“On our part as government, we will continue to support the authority with the necessary policies and framework to ensure that the mission of the institution is delivered in a transparent, sustainable, and inclusive manner.”