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NSIA grows net assets to N772.75bn despite COVID-19

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) grew its net assets by N193.21 billion in 2020, representing a 33 per cent increase over the N579.54 billion recorded in 2019. The result was achieved despite the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on global economies last year. NSIA announced this yesterday when it released its audited financial results for the 2020 financial year in Abuja.

The authority, which manages Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund, said the growth in assets reflected a strong financial performance and consistent implementation of strategic infrastructure investment programmes for the year. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the NSIA said it had a strong year owing to strong performance from its investments in international capital markets, improved contribution from subsidiaries and affiliates and exchange gain from foreign currency positions. Highlights of NSIA’s activities and performance during the period showed that the authority recorded 343 per cent growth in total comprehensive income to N160.06 billion in 2020 as against N36.15 billion in 2019.

Excluding devaluation gain of N51 billion, core income of N109 billion was recorded in 2020 compared to N33.07 billion in 2019. NSIA also received an additional contribution of $250 million, and provided first stabilisation support to the Federal Government where $150 million was withdrawn from the stabilisation fund. Speaking at the briefing to present the financial performance, the Managing Director of the NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji, said the authority received $311 million from funds recovered from the late General Abacha from the US Department of Justice and Island of Jersey. This amount, he stated, was deployed towards the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund projects of Abuja-Kaduna- Kano highway, Lagos- Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge.

He said COVID-19 adversely affected logistics around infrastructure projects, especially the toll road projects and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. In response to COVID- 19, he said that the NSIA partnered with Global Citizen, a not-forprofit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Sup-port Fund. Separately, he noted that the NSIA acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to the 21 teaching hospitals as part of corporate social responsibility in addition to staffing support to the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19. On the performance of the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund, the NSIA CEO said the authority reached major milestones across domestic infrastructure projects specifically in motorways, agriculture, and healthcare. For instance, in the area of healthcare, he said the authority operationalised the NSIA-Kano Diagnostic Centre; operationalised the NSIA-Umuahia Diagnostic Centre and commissioned an administrative and training centre for the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre.

He explained further that the NSIA also commenced a plan to roll out additional healthcare projects across the country, adding that the authority partnered with the University College London Consult to develop a pharmaceutical investment strategy with a plan to develop active direct investments in 2021. In the area of agriculture, he said the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative produced 12 million 50kg bags of NPK 20:10:10 equivalent in 2020, bringing total production since inception to over 30 million 50kg bags equivalent.

He said the number of participating blending plants increased to 44 from less than seven at inception, noting that the authority had completed the restructuring of the PFI. He stated also that the authority had embarked on the next phase of the PFI, which substantially reduces NSIA’s involvement and transfers more of the responsibility to the fertiliser blenders. He said the NSIA had also completed the construction of 3000 hectares Panda Agric Farm in Nasarawa, which is the first project of the UFF-NSIA partnership. In the area of financial markets infrastructure, he said the NSIA had significantly improved contributions from subsidiaries/ affiliates such as Infrastructure Credit Guarantee Company (InfraCredit), Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and Family Homes Funds Ltd (FHFL).

He explained that the authority had also invested additional capital into NG Clearing, the first derivative clearing house in Nigeria to maintain NSIA’s shareholding at 16.5 per cent following the company’s rights issue of 2020. He added that the NSIA had admitted InfraCo Africa, a PIDG company, based in the UK as 33 per cent shareholder in InfraCredit, thus reducing NSIA’s stake from 50 per cent in 2019 to 33 per cent in 2021. For its innovation fund, Orji said the NSIA launched its Nigeria Innovation Fund to address investment opportunities within Nigeria in information technology, with an immediate pipeline that include data networking, data centers, software, and services as well as agritech and bio-tech.

In the area of gas industrialisation, he noted that the authority had made significant progress on developing the ammonia and diammonium phosphate production plants in partnership with OCP. For the Future Generations Fund, Orji said NSIA has significantly changed asset allocation, completely changed and expanded the stable of hedge fund managers, made commitments into venture capital sector and commenced direct trading and co-investments in equities with selected VC and private equity managers.

For the stabilisation fund, he said the authority had been able to liquidate a portion of the stabilisation fund assets in 2020 to meet the $150 million redemption that augmented the July 2020 FAAC to all three tiers of government. He explained further that the stabilisation fund performed well, given the economic climate and ultra- low interest rates set by central bankers.

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