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Sovereign wealth fund becomes operational March 2013

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The much awaited Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) will become fully operational by March 2013, as 300 persons jostle for the post of Chief Investment Officer (CIO).

To underscore the commitment of the federal government to the fund, the strategy document, which will guide its operations, is ready while its investment policy guidelines and the processes for the three fund mandates are almost finalised.

Speaking on the progress made so far, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated the strategy document was ratified by the Board of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), led by Alhaji Mahey Rasheed.

To ensure that the blue print is ready on time, the minister stated that the board had met twice since its inauguration on October 9 to review and reshape the draft submitted by the management team, led by Uche Orji, the managing dirctor of NSIA.

She said efforts to hire key personnel and acquire a functional office had reached an advanced stage.

Orji, speaking on the fund, said “there is still a lot of hard work ahead. we need to remain focused and disciplined so that we can reap the rewards. We are not yet there, but we are on the right track. The question we must keep asking ourselves is: other countries have benefitted from SWF. Why not Nigeria?”

Orji, who was appointed in October following an international head hunt, explained the status of plans to appoint a CIO for the organisation.

“We are in the process of filling the role of the CIO. We received 300 resumes for the CIO role and will soon commence the process of short-listing the candidates. We hope to have the interview early next year and have a CIO in place by early March” he said.

He stated that other key management and staff positions in the NSIA would be advertised starting tomorrow and the projection is that the full complement of staff would be in place by the first quarter of 2013.

To ensure that resources are maximised, Orji stressed that prudence was the cornerstone of management at the NSIA. The organisation will have a lean operating model at the early stages.

He also emphasised that in seeking the best investments for Nigeria, the NSIA would not limit itself but will search for the best deals wherever they could be found in the world.

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