The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji has ruled out direct investment in the equities market for now. Speaking to journalists during a visit to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos yesterday, Orji said direct investment in the stock market is not the mandate of the authority.
According to him, the mandate of NSIA is to manage three funds, which include: The Future Generations Fund(meant to preserve and grow the value of assets transferred into it by investing in a diversified portfolio of appropriate growth investments);The Nigeria Infrastructure Fund( aims to invest in domestic infrastructure projects that meet targeted financial returns and contribute to the development of essential infrastructure in order to stimulate the growth and diversification of the Nigerian economy) and The Stabilisation Fund (that acts as a buffer against short-term macro-economic instability).
He NSIA now has assets under management of about $1.8 billion, comprising the seed capital of $1.25 billion and about $550 million that it manages for third party.
Orji said having been focusing most of its investment out the country in the past, the time has come to investment in domestic market, noting however, that the focus will not be on stock market for now.
“We have five areas of immediate focus for infrastructure which are healthcare, agriculture, tolled roads, power and real estate. Our mandate is to manage the three funds by investment mostly in infrastructure. But we hoping that some of that investments we made in private equities will lift such companies and they will list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange(NSE). Secondly, we are also hoping that as our infrastructural programme develops, we will be raising bonds and that brings us into the market. We also hoping that as we create other co-investment vehicles, those vehicles attract people to bring money on the platforms we are creating to invest in Nigeria, which will create liquidity that will help the stock market,” the NSIA boss explained.
He disclosed that agriculture is the centre piece of most of their investments this year, noting that the company co-sponsored the first agriculture financing in Nigeria.
“That fund brought other investors and invested in dairy farm in Kano, Tomato paste company in the north. They are doing a few things and we are helping them. You will see us more in agriculture this year,” he said.