Sovereign Wealth Fund restores fertiliser blending firms

Elizabeth Christopher, Abuja

The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) also known as the Sovereign Wealth Fund has resuscitated 11 fertiliser blending plants across the country.

This development substantially brought down the price of fertiliser, ended its subsidy and ensured the availability of the commodity.

The Fund’s Managing Director, Uche Orji said this in Abuja while receiving the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who paid a courtesy visit to the Authority.

More jobs created
“We have delivered over six million bags of NPK 20:10:10 at 30% below the market price without subsidy. In the process of that, we have also created over 50,000 jobs. We have rehabilitated 11 blending plants that had either been under capacity or moribund,”
Mr Orji stated.

According to him, six other moribund fertiliser blending plants across Nigeria are at various stages of rehabilitation and will come on board by the end of the year.

Through this intervention, Mr. Orji said the Fund has saved the government over N50 billion in subsidy this year, based on the fact that the government used to subsidise fertiliser to the tune of N6,000 per bag.

The NSIA boss said the fertiliser initiative of the Authority also assisted the government to conserve foreign exchange through the substitution of 65% components of the fertiliser with local content.

Fertiliser subsidy
“The Fund eliminated fertiliser subsidy and middlemen in the distribution process by putting whistle blower telephone numbers on every bag to guard against arbitrary increase in the price of the commodity,’’
he stated.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed commended the Fund for its intervention in the critical sectors of the economy.

Mohammed said the present administration has succeeded in breaking the jinx in fertiliser supply to farmers.

“You have done three major things here. One is that you have crashed the price of fertiliser and this in itself is very significant because what we have today is that for the cost of one bag of fertiliser, you can get two bags of fertiliser…When you now look at the improvement in the type of fertiliser that you are now making available, it has helped us to increase yield from about two metric tonnes per hectare to seven metric tonnes and I think in some areas up to 11. More remarkable to me is that we have been able to demystify the fertiliser conundrum,” Mr Mohammed explained.

Corruption and scandals
The Minister said the intervention by the Fund has also eliminated corruption and scandals in the procurement of fertiliser.

He said the Fund’s laudable efforts especially in the areas of Agriculture, infrastructure and health were ground-breaking and pledged to partner with the Fund to publicise its activities.

Confidence Okwuchi