The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, manager of the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, has resuscitated 11 fertilizer blending plants across the country, which has brought down the price of commodity and ended its subsidy.
The agency’s Managing Director, Mr. Uche Orji, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday, while receiving the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who paid a courtesy visit to the authority.
He said, “We have delivered over six million bags of the NPK 20:10:10 at 30 per cent 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.”
He said six other moribund fertilizer blending plants across the country were at various stages of rehabilitation and would come on board by the end of the year.
Orji said through this intervention, the fund had saved the government over N50bn in subsidy this year, based on the fact that the government used to subsidise fertilizer to the tune of N6,000 per bag.
The NSIA boss said the fertilizer initiative of the authority also assisted the government to conserve foreign exchange through the substitution of 65 per cent components of the fertilizer with local content.
According to him, the NSIA eliminated fertilizer subsidy and middlemen in the distribution process by putting whistleblower telephone numbers on every bag to guard against arbitrary increase in the price of the commodity.
As from 2018, the 36 states of the Federation would start receiving dividends from the NSIA, Orji also said.
The NSIA, which is entrusted with the management of the country’s SWF, was set up in 2014 with a take-off seed of $1bn from the Excess Crude Account.
The idea of the agency was to provide the country a stabilisation fund during economic distress, it was gathered.
While commending the NSIA for its intervention in the critical sectors of the economy, the minister said the present administration had succeeded in breaking the jinx in fertilizer supply to farmers.
He said, “You have done three major things here. One is that you have crashed the price of fertilizer, and this in itself is very significant because what we have today is that for the cost of one bag of fertilizer, you can get two bags of fertilizer.
“When you now look at the improvement in the type of fertilizer 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 fertilizer conundrum.”
Mohammed said the intervention by the fund had also eliminated corruption and scandals in the procurement of fertilizer.
The minister observed that the interventions and the efforts that the fund was making, especially in the areas of agriculture, infrastructure and health, were remarkable and pledged to partner with it in order to publicise its activities.