By Usman Sulayman
A former Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga, has said there are so many assets held by different ministries, departments and agencies that are not actively managed in Nigeria.
Aganga, who spoke at a webinar on Thursday evening organised by EY Nigeria Alumni, also said the country needed to take decisive actions to grow and diversify the economy.
He said, “As a country, we do have so many assets held by different MDAs that are not actively managed. I am not even sure we have a comprehensive list of those assets.
“This is a role that can be dedicated to the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund. The NSIA needs a stronger political will from the government to deliver fully on its mandate.”
The ex-minister said the impact of COVID-19, high level of unemployment and poverty high level of debt and uncontrolled population growth were compelling reasons to take more decisive actions.
His words, “More than ever, the time to be bold, to take decisive actions, to strengthen, to grow and diversify the economy and to empower the NSIA to play its critical role is now.
“Our population is growing faster than our economy, and that only means one thing: more poverty, with social unrest as a possible result. We can do something about it now.”
Aganga said the SWF plays prominent roles in the global financial system .
“The largest funds are held by resource-rich countries and these are Asian economies. Sovereign Wealth Funds in several countries have economic diversification as a mandate in addition to providing an additional buffer against commodity risks.
“Contrary to what most people say or think, the NSIA, which is our own sovereign wealth fund, is not just a savings and stabilisation thing. It was meant to be a tool for economic diversification and development,” he noted.