The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has advised the Federal Government to transfer all the country’s oil revenue savings of about $3.95bn to the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
It said the country’s SWF, whose balance currently stands at $1.5bn, was being managed properly by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, adding that it was important for the government to move all oil revenue savings to the custody of the NSIA.
In its Occasional Paper titled: ‘The Case for a Robust Oil Savings Fund for Nigeria’, NEITI explained that its position was informed by the transparency rating of the NSIA by the global Sovereign Wealth Institute.
It said the NSIA had scored nine out of 10 on the SWI transparency index, the highest score by any African Sovereign Wealth Fund.
The country’s sovereign wealth agency was set up in 2011 to build a savings base, develop infrastructure and provide stabilisation in times of economic stress.
NEITI stated that the fund was structured into three components of the Future Generations’ Fund, with 40 per cent of the total in the SWF; Nigeria Infrastructure Fund, 40 per cent; and the Stabilisation Fund, 20 per cent, adding that the organisation started off with a seed capital of $1bn in 2012.
It noted that in November 2015 and March 2017, the government transferred additional $500m into the fund, bringing the total savings to $1.5bn.
NEITI, however, observed that while these savings were significantly below projected transfers to the SWF, it was satisfied that the funds under the management of the NSIA were not depleted unlike the other oil savings in the Excess Crude Account and the 0.5 per cent Stabilisation Fund.
Providing more reasons why all oil revenue savings should be moved to the SWF, NEITI said the NSIA had made N192bn return on its investments, but the other oil accounts had never gained an extra naira.
It stressed that unlike the SWF, the ECA and the Stabilisation Fund had suffered all kinds of abuses over the years thus, undermining the objectives for which they were set up.
NEITI recommended that the $95m currently in the Stabilisation Fund and the $2.3bn in the ECA should be transferred to the SWF as investment savings.