Goodluck Jonathan urges states government to embrace the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday told the 36 states governors and local government chairmen that only the culture of saving for the future can help preserve the country’s commonwealth and ensure sustained prosperity and growth.
The president, who was speaking in Abuja during the formal inauguration of the Board of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, urged the governors to eschew their opposition to the operation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF, and work with the Federal Government to realise its objectives.
The state governors, who are opposed to the creation of the Fund, have called for its suspension, with a suit challenging the implementation of the fund currently pending before the Supreme Court.
The NSIA is statutorily charged with the responsibilities of managing the SWF and administering the accruing resources for the benefit of present and future generations of Nigerians.
The President underscored the need for all levels of government to support any initiative that would encourage savings that would guarantee the country’s future prosperity.
“Today’s ceremony ushers in a new era of financial responsibility as we provide the fiscal cushion in these uncertain economic times and protect our national savings for future generation of Nigerians,” the president said.
“Let me state unequivocally, that the Sovereign Wealth Fund belongs to all Nigerians represented through the Federal, states and local governments. While recognising the administrative reality of the federal system of government, this administration believes that all tiers of government must work to preserve the commonwealth and thereby guarantee the future prosperity of our nation.
“It is for this reason that the Federal Government considered it imperative to assemble the group of credible citizens to manage the Sovereign Wealth Fund.”
The SWF Board, which is being chaired by one time Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mahey Rasheed, is expected to help to build a savings base for future generation of Nigerians, enhance the development of the country’s infrastructure and promote fiscal stability in times of economic stress.
The Sovereign Wealth Fund was statutorily established with initial seed money of $1billion to provide a strong, transparent and effective tool for the management of the nation’s petroleum wealth for the benefit of Nigerians.
At the signing of the SWF Bill into law, President Jonathan said the revenue that would accrue in the fund would be shared into the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund, NIF, the Future Generations Fund, FGF, and the Stabilisation Fund, SF.
The infrastructure fund, he said, would be dedicated to investments in the development of critical national infrastructure, with 10 per cent of it going into the development of agriculture and government-sponsored projects.
On the other hand, the Future Generations Fund would be used to build an intergenerational savings base by investing in longer-term assets that generate returns to accumulate wealth for future generations of Nigerians; while the stabilisation fund would help to protect annual national budgets by providing a stable, last resort source of financing during periods of fiscal deficit resulting from a sustained fall in oil prices.