31 July 2012 ,Sweetcrude, ABUJA – DR Ngozi Okonjo-Ieala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, says the nation’s saving from its Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF, has reached about $7 billion.
Speaking on Monday at the opening of the Nigeria Business and Investment Summit in London, the minister said the savings increased from $4.22billion and should hit $10 billion before the end of the year.
The summit titled,: “New World Nigeria: The world’s most vibrant market,” is being organised by the Bank of Industry, BoI, at the Dorchester Hotel, London.
Okonjo-Iweala stated that the Nigerian government has completed the process of recruiting top executives – Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer and Chief Risk Officer, for the management of Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), adding that the trio were among the 730 candidates who applied.
“Once we get the board in place, the SWF will start operation. We intentionally left the positions of the Chief Investment and Chief Risk officer open to Nigerians to give them the opportunity, and threw the position of CEO open,” she explained.
The funds for the SWF were pulled from Excess Crude Account. The fund is a major component in the country’s attempt to hedge against budget volatility, build infrastructure, combat unemployment and provide economic growth.
“We want this growth to be inclusive and job creating because as of now, there are no enough jobs. We want to focus on the diversification of the economy,” the minister said.
President Jonathan Goodluck, represented by the Finance Minster, earlier said the government was tackling the various challenges confronting the country such as security, infrastructure, corruption, crude oil theft and other leakages in the economy.
Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham underlined the strong business relationship between the United Kingdom and Nigeria, noting that the latter is the largest market for the former in Sub Saharan Africa after South Africa.
In her remarks, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, BoI, Ms Evelyn Oputu called on foreign investors to invest in Nigeria.