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NEC eyes N2tr pension funds for road, power projects

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NEC presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Photo; TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

Indications emerged yesterday that the National Economic Council (NEC) is to invest N2tr of contributory pension funds to facilitate the development of infrastructure, especially roads and power.

A summary of monthly pension funds for August released on October 15, 2019, indicate that Nigeria’s pension funds have grown to N9.44tr.

Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu who briefed State House Correspondents after the NEC meeting in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday said, “Up to 20 per cent of the pensions funds under the current law can be used for infrastructure development.

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The NEC presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to receive a final report from the sub-committee early next year.

Bagudu, who was joined at the briefing by his Lagos State counterpart, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the mechanism had been successful in other countries.

“Today, the sub-committee presented an interim report. It reported and identified potential roads, power and rail projects that can be funded through this mechanism.

“They noted that for instance, N169b was allocated for roads across the federation in this year’s budget and is grossly inadequate, but with this mechanism may be up to N2tr can be accessed and leveraged upon.

“During the last NEC meeting, there was a review of the performance of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and we are all impressed about the experience they had gained in the last few years and their performance.

“And it was decided that a committee be set up to leverage on that performance and create a platform where pension funds can be used for infrastructure development in a safe manner so that the country will earn long term returns for the pension funds, while also helping to build infrastructure,” Bagudu said.

He disclosed that NEC received a presentation from the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, titled, “Evaluation Options Going Forward,” adding, “The options were discussed and NEC was advised to study the presentation so that it can review it and take necessary actions.”

Speaking, Minister of Finance disclosed that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $324.967m as at November 19, 2019, the Stabilisation Account as of December 17, 2019, was N30.479b, while the Natural Resource Fund has to N88.2b.

Meanwhile, council yesterday reviewed the country’s security situation and concluded that it has improved across Nigeria, just as Sanwo-Olu, disclosed that its sub-committee on security presented its report on the situation at a closed-door session.

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