Many articles ago, I had published a post about AMCON and which way forward, which was in a sense meant to give an idea about my thoughts on how AMCON should be set up to operate. One of the many functions of AMCON as proposed by the article was to also oversee the setup, operationalisation and management of Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund. The reason for such a proposal is, firstly, AMCON was setup to take on bad debts of the Nigerian banking industry, increasing liquidity and restoring public confidence to the entire financial system in the country. Secondly, when AMCON takes on such debts, what does it do with them? The reason for proposing AMCON manage the country’s SWF was so that with investments made across global financial markets, it creates a window for AMCON to be able to ‘sell’ our local debts on the international scene by coming up with ‘creative’ investments vehicles that would attract foreign investments to buy up local debt and still provide additional liquidity for the economy.
However, with the hesitations by the governors about depleting state revenues to fund the Nigerian SWF drive, it seems for now that our quest for a SWF might just be another ‘white elephant project. “But happenings and the discordant tunes coming out of the Governors’ forum leaves one with the impression that they just gather to backslap one another and feel good. That the governors cannot take a common position on the sovereign wealth fund is, to say the least, very sad. It is worse even to hear that many are against it to the point of going to court under the guise that it is unconstitutional.” Culled from the Vanguard website (www.vanguardngr.com). But on the other hand with the current set of individuals making up the nation’s economic team, I do hope that the SWF for Nigeria actually sees the light of day and that our political class would allow the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) operate independently.
There isn’t any doubt in my mind that a Nigerian SWF would do our country a world of good; concentrate her excess income in viable investments across global markets, open up the Nigerian financial system to the intricate world of international finance, creation of jobs for Nigerians locally and internationally, diversify the country’s streams of income, creation of new investment, capital and money markets benchmarks, access to top grade investment knowledge, etc. I do hope that the governors’ selfish and myopic point of view will be overshadowed by the immense benefits many Nigerians will stand to gain and that the NSIA and Nigeria’s SWF will become one of the country’s key economic pillars to future sustainability.