President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said his administration’s projects are designed to yield long-term benefits.
He restated his commitment to such projects, saying their “full impacts” would be felt long after his exit from office.
He stated this during the inauguration of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Board in Abuja on Wednesday.
The new board, that will operate in a non-executive capacity, has Farouk Mohammed Gumel from Northwest as chairman.
The others are Babatunde Sobamowo (Southwest), Isiekwena Ikemefuna Louis (Southsouth), Ali Goni Kadugum (Northeast), Oniyangi Kabir Sulaiman (Northcentral) and Ike Chioke (Southeast).
Buhari, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, challenged the board to embark on investments that support economic diversification, as global oil prices are projected to drop to around $40 per barrel by 2030.
Reappraising the roles of the NSIA as a strategic government partner, the President told the board that the “long term projects and programmes” of his administration are primarily designed to create jobs for Nigerians.
He said: ‘‘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.
“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(board members) of the Authority, you are required to continue to drive the performance of the NSIA to deliver benefits to all Nigerians.
‘‘You must bear in mind that the National Economic Council (NEC), your governing council and Nigerians as a whole, will hold you accountable for this mandate.
‘‘Periodically, you will be required to provide evidence of your stewardship at the governing council meetings where your performance will be assessed.
‘‘The bar before you is very high and all of us are counting on you to deliver.”
The President recalled that NSIA, which is 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.
He expressed delight that so far the institution has discharged its mandate dutifully.
The President added: ‘‘This is why we prioritised the appointment of a new board to ensure that the NSIA does not lose steam and can continue to benefit from the oversight it needs to deliver on its mandate.
‘‘The new board we assembled has a crop of seasoned, eminently qualified, and experienced professionals.
‘‘We expect these individuals to bring their wealth of experience to bear, in the next phase of NSIA’s journey.”
Buhari used the occasion to thank the last Board of Directors whose tenure ended in May 2021.
Acknowledging their commitment, dedication and contributions to the implementation of the objectives of the NSIA, the President said ‘‘This distinguished group of patriotic Nigerians heeded the call to serve and deployed the best of their abilities to oversee the affairs of the Authority on behalf of the nation over the last four years.”
Notably, 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.’’
He added: “In the past four years, both the public and private sectors in Nigeria have partnered on strategic projects with the NSIA.
‘‘On the public sector partnership, we are working with the NSIA on strategic infrastructure projects such as the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano Road, to mention a few.”
‘‘On the private sector collaborations, we have projects such as the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative and the NSIA Healthcare Development and Investment Company amongst others.
‘‘Although these projects and programmes have immediately created jobs from a development standpoint, the wider impact on society will only be felt in years to come.’’
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed said from the base position of $1billion when the Buhari administration assumed office in 2015, NSIA now has around $3.5billion in assets under management.
She explained that the new board will oversee the NSIA management’s activities towards delivering outcomes to transform the fortunes of the country.
Ahmed said: ‘‘Using the NSIA Act as its guide, the Board will be required to superintend initiatives that meet the current and future needs of Nigerians.
‘‘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.”
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