NSIA targets investment in farming, health care, power and toll roads to boost profits

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NSIA manages $2.15 billion after $650 million state deposit

Fund’s 2017 profit tumbled as foreign-exchange gains plunged

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority is restructuring its portfolio to focus more on domestic investments after a drop in the currency wiped out foreign-exchange gains last year.

“The asset allocation strategy of NSIA has been restructured to reflect an increased focus on domestic infrastructure investments with 50 percent of future contributions to be dedicated to infrastructure,” according to a statement on Monday from the fund.

The institution, which last year had 80 percent of assets under management denominated in dollars, saw valuations decline after the central bank introduced policies that weakened the naira by at least 15 percent against the greenback. Measures like a market price-determined trading window for investors and exporters were aimed at improving supply of dollars at a time revenue from oil, the nation’s biggest export, had fallen and caused the economy to contract by 1.6 percent in 2016.

Profit at the fund slid 82 percent last year to 22.6 billion naira ($63 million) as foreign-exchange gains plunged 98 percent. They made up more than half of 2016’s profit.

Growing Assets
NSIA Managing Director Uche Orji expects the government, which provides the fund’s capital, will inject additional money after oil prices more than doubled since 2016. “The expectation is that we will increase, but I don’t know by how much,” he said in a June 8 interview, referring to the asset base.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, has been tapping into its oil savings. The government took $1 billion to fight Islamist militants and may draw a similar amount to fund the completion of a state-controlled steel plant. The so-called excess crude account stood at about $2.32 billion at the end of last year.

The NSIA currently manages $2.15 billion, up from $1.5 billion at the end of last year. That includes a government deposit of $650 million approved in May to fund infrastructure development.

The fund will increase investment in farming, health care, power and toll roads, Orji said during the interview from his office in the capital, Abuja. It already spent more than $200 million on infrastructure and farming projects that will “generate returns after at least two years,” he said.

Orji signed an agreement Monday with Morocco’s phosphate monopoly OCP SA to build an ammonia plant in Nigeria, according to a statement from the presidency. The deal comes as the NSIA invests in the nation’s fertilizer plants, which require ammonia inputs.

The NSIA didn’t reinvest funds that matured at the beginning of the year immediately, pending the inauguration of new directors, the managing director said.

(Updates with ammonia plant deal in penultimate paragraph.)

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