President Muhammadu Buhari, this week, in Abuja, charged the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) to grow its Assets Under Management from the current value of N18 trillion to at least N100 trillion in the next 10 years.
The President gave the charge at the launch of the new MOFI and the inauguration of the Governing Council and Board of Directors of the body.
He tasked the new board to “be the clearinghouse for the management of Federal Government investments and assets in line with global best practices to ensure that these investments are delivering superior risk-adjusted returns to the government.”
The President called on MOFI to “work with other MDAs to create a consolidated national asset register to convert these assets into cashflow-generating entities to support the government’s revenue drive and; partner with the government to use government-owned investments and assets to support the government in delivering on its social and economic obligations to the citizenry.”
Of course, MOFI comes at a critical time in the history of the country. No doubt, considering the need for critical investments, the reinvigoration of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated represents a rare vista of hope for sustainable economic recovery.
The Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI) is a special division in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation that was established for the sole purpose of taking charge of all state investments in line with the state policies.
As part of its schedules and powers, the corporation may enter into, sign, seal, execute and perfect any contract, instrument, mortgage, deed, surrender or assurance for securing the repayment of money, together with interest thereon, if any, lent by the Treasury or by any person appointed by the President to other parties or of money due and payable to the Government of the Federation by other parties, and may sign and execute in the same manner receipts, releases, conveyances and other assurances of the lands and property which shall have been mortgaged as security therefor, and may consent to any such alteration of the conditions of the said securities or any of them as the Minister shall think fit.
The corporation may commence any action or other proceeding in any court for the recovery of any sum of money, right, title, interest, property or thing whatsoever due or payable or for the enforcement of any covenant under any of the securities. It may also take such other lawful means for recovering any such sum of money as occasion may require.
Its mandate as the sole manager of Federal Government investment interests, estates, easements and rights positioned it as a strategic institution to support the Federal Government’s effort to address its myriad of economic challenges and spur a renewal of the economy.
Sadly, the majority of these assets in its portfolio are currently categorised as underperforming or moribund, reflecting the ugly face of the current parlous state of the country’s economy, with revenue and cash flow declining at an alarming rate below expectations.
Although the country’s economy is reputed to be the largest in Africa, accounting for about $440 billion or 17 per cent of the continent’s annual Gross Domestic Products (GDP), it remains almost perpetually vulnerable to the shocks from the booms and bursts of global oil politics.
The country’s overarching dependence on crude oil exports as its major source of income and economic sustenance has continued to be a source of growing existential worry for the government.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said during the presentation of the 2023 budget details in Abuja that the government was exploring ways to continue to diversify the country’s economic base and generate more revenue to support budget implementation. The move to revitalise the MOFI is one of the minister’s initiatives to continue to drive reforms in the economy as part of her Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI) which is focused on finding new ways of diversifying and increasing government revenues.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mr Aliyu Ahmed, who is the chairman of the Technical Committee for the restructuring of MOFI, also shares the vision of the new investment vehicle for the government. As a result of ongoing sabotage and vandalism of oil facilities and massive crude oil theft, oil production fell by another 11.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2022, following a drop of approximately 26 per cent in the previous quarter.
Even though oil and gas constitute a paltry six per cent of the country’s aggregate value of goods and services, more than 76 per cent of the revenue the government relies on to fund the provision of critical socio-economic services in the economy comes from this sector.
With declining revenues and a spiralling double-digit inflation rate in recent years, the government has consistently struggled to stay afloat, managing to contend with the pressures of debilitating macroeconomic and fiscal challenges.
Thankfully, the President has directed the Minister of Finance to commence the process of amending the MOFI Act and other legislations to introduce reforms and ensure that MOFI is restructured and repositioned to become a trusted custodian and manager of federal government investments and assets.
Indeed, this week’s event held to restructure MOFI would, as the President has said, help to identify “what we own” and how to get the best out of them.
Dr Nuhu Muhammadu Sanusi (1945 – 2023)
In his condolence message, President Muhammadu Buhari described the late Dr Nuhu Muhammadu Sanusi, the first-class Emir of Dutse, as a great man whose demise has deprived the nation of a formidable agent of development.
A statement issued by Auwalu Sankara, Jigawa state Commissioner for Special Duties, the emir died on Tuesday at a hospital in Abuja after a protracted illness. He was 78 years old at the time of his death.
Born in 1945 at Yargaba village in Dutse, the capital of Jigawa state, Dr Sanusi attended Dutse Elementary School from 1952 to 1956. After his post-primary education, he obtained a National Certificate in Education (NCE) from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and later a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts in International Business from Ohio University, United States of America. He further obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Project Planning and Analysis from Bradford University, United Kingdom.
The President, in his message delivered to the Emirate Council during the burial of the late emir, said that the country would never forget the outstanding service of the late emir in his 28-year reign.
The Presidential message, delivered by the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Sulaiman Adamu, said the nation would never forget Sanusi’s excellent leadership qualities.
The President reiterated the role of the late Emir in the global quest for a sustainable living environment, saying that he will be remembered for his commitment to reforestation and the restoration of the green ecosystem.
He urged the grieving family members, the Dutse Emirate Council and the entire people of the state to sustain the worthy causes championed by the late emir.
An exemplary thought leader in the global quest for a sustainable living environment, Sanusi was a lead advocate for afforestation and the green ecosystem in his expansive traditional domain.
It was this commitment to mitigating the effect of climate change that prompted him to build the Dutse Royal Golf Course which is reputed to be one of the largest in Nigeria with lush vegetation, exotic flora and rare fauna.
Before ascending the exalted throne, the late emir had acquired substantial experience in agricultural consultancy and management of complex industrial projects around the continents.
Besides his passion for travelling, he had presented cerebral papers at national and international seminars and has written several books, including his autobiography and the highly insightful History of Dutse.
Under his reign, Dutse Emirate is being transformed from a sleepy town to a sprawling green city where citizens are imbued with determination to confront desertification and adopt eco-friendly habits.
He established several private schools for youths and adults and has encouraged the community to seek knowledge as the main tool for the development and sustainability of the environment.