Nigeria Readies Sovereign Wealth Fund

Oct 19 2011 | 9:03am ET

Nigeria will channel some of the money earned from its oil industry to a sovereign wealth fund, which will launch with $1 billion, the country’s finance minister announced Tuesday.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister and former World Bank managing director, unveiled the timeline for the creation of the fund, which she said would be managed by KPMG. The consultancy is already at work recruiting a fund board that should be in place by mid-December.

"We are proceeding with the implementation of this very important program following consultations with the Governors' Forum because the feedback we have is the Nigerians strongly support saving for the future and the other core objectives of the fund," Okonjo-Iweala told reporters in Abuja.

"It is also clear given the current challenges facing our economy and the global financial crisis, we cannot afford to waste any time."

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan gave the green light to the SWF in a law passed in May, but Reuters reports political wrangling—including opposition from the governors of the country’s 36 states—has delayed its implementation.

Nigeria exports more than 2 million barrels of crude oil a day. Nigeria was one of only three OPEC member states without a sovereign wealth fund.

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