Buhari Charges MOFI to Grow FG’s Assets from N10tn to N100tn By 2033

•Directs finance minister to commence move to restructure, reposition company

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) to grow its Assets Under Management (AUM) from the current value of N18 trillion to at least N100 trillion in the next 10 years.

Buhari handed down the directive yesterday, at the State House, Abuja, at the launch of the new MOFI and inauguration of the Governing Council and Board of Directors of the body shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting.

The president further tasked the new board to be the clearing house for the management of federal government investments and assets in line with global best practices with a view to ensuring that these investments are delivering superior risk-adjusted returns to the government.

He also called on the new MOFI to, work with other MDAs to create a consolidated national asset register with a view to converting the assets into cashflow-generating entities. This, he said would support the government’s revenue drive and partner the government with a view to using government-owned investments and assets to support the government in delivering on its social and economic obligations to the citizenry.

To this effect, he directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed to commence the process of amending the MOFI Act and other legislations to further institutionalise the reform and ensure that MOFI was restructured and repositioned to become a trusted custodian and manager of federal government’s investments and assets.

Buhari said the event was significant as the restructured MOFI would help identify “what we own” and how to get the best out of them.

According to him, the MOFI Act of 1959 now Cap. 229, Laws of the Federation, 2004, “explicitly empowers MOFI to enter into commercial transactions of any description on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria in its own name. As a result, MOFI was used as a Special Purpose Vehicle across different sectors, to invest in commercial entities over the last 64 years. To put this in context, MOFI was created even before Nigeria’s independence.”

The president further said MOFI was not structured to be governed or resourced to deliver on the mandate that was expected of it.

“MOFI’s peers, on the other hand, that were deliberately set up with the institutional framework, governance structure, and execution capacity have gone on to make major social and economic impacts in their respective nations. Many of which have become global brands for investing domestically and internationally.

“As part of the governance structure, there will be a Governing Council headed by me, a Board of Directors under the leadership of a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, and an Executive Management Team headed by Dr Armstrong Takang,” the president said.

Buhari reminded members of the Governing Council as well as Board of Directors that this administration expected much from them.

He specifically tasked Ministers who are members to create an enabling environment that would facilitate the creation of a National Asset Register that would be harnessed to strengthen our fiscal and economic realities and the, “optimisation of our investments and assets that will be under the purview of MOFI.”

In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning thanked Buhari for his support and approvals that have made the restructuring and repositioning of MOFI possible, assuring him that Council members and Board would ensure that the new MOFI delivers on its mandates.

Speaking with newsmen after the inauguration, Chairman of MOFI Board and former Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, said his team would swing into action immediately to fulfil the mandate given to it to raise the government’s assets from N18 trillion to N100 trillion in the next 10 years.

He said: “Even though our task is mighty and difficult, I am reliant on a number of things. One is that the quality of the people that have been elected, or appointed to the board, and to the Governing Council. Second is the amount of work initial work that has been done already and third the experience of other countries.”

On the way forward for the board, the Chairman said a comprehensive inventory of all federal government’s property would be carried out, adding that no government official could ascertain total assets owned by government.

His words: ” First of all, is that we will do a detailed inventory of these assets to produce a credible National Register of these assets. I can tell you some of them for now. But I think really the more important point is, there is no body in government today that can tell you, this is 100 per cent with certainty, the assets owned by the government.

“Unfortunately, we are in that situation, some work has started. That’s why we arrived at this estimated at N18 trillion- N19 trillion. But there are some that are even not known. There’s a lot of uncertainty. Where are they? Where are they all over the country? What’s the value? And how can we turn them around?”.

MOFI Governing Council which is chaired by the president has Ahmed, as Vice Chair.

Other members included the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva (State); Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo; Central Bank Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele and three experts appointed by the President: Prof. Muhammad Sagagi, Dr Ayo Teriba and Prof. Ken Ife.

The Board members apart from former Finance Minister, Shamsudeen Umar as Chairman include Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance and Petroleum Resources, Acting Accountant-General of the Federation, Olawale Edun, Fatima Mede, Ike Chioke, Muhammad Nda, Alheri Nyako and an executive from the CBN.

Members of the Executive Management Team are: Dr Armstrong Takang (MD), Eric solo (ED, Chief Portfolio Officer), Sani Yakubu (Chief Investment Officer), Oluwakemi Owonubi (Chief Risk Officer).

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