FG to provide 50% capital to facilitate $1bn investment fund

The Federal Government has committed to providing at least 50 per cent of the seed capital for the establishment of the Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund.

The Minister for State Finance and Budget Planning, Clem Agba, disclosed this at a high-level Roundtable meeting on the establishment of the WIIF in Abuja on Thursday.

According to Agba, the government is committed to promoting public-private partnerships aimed at fueling a just and equitable society.

He also revealed the present government has that committed over N1.5 trillion to various social investment schemes over the past few years.

“The Government shall harness opportunities to draw in more mainstream investors that have the potential to bring in massive sums of capital and focus on maintaining market integrity as the impact investing ecosystem develops.”

He added that the meeting with stakeholders serves as a formal announcement of the FG’s financial commitment to the Wholesale Impact Investment Fund and flag-off for engagement with a wider array of stakeholders to unlock local private investments using capital from public sources for sustainable funding of enterprises with social and environmental relevance.

Agba further urged investors to consider the opportunities available through impact investing, which could lead to tremendous social and economic benefits for communities across Nigeria.

He also suggested exploring ways to increase impact investing activity to grow the market, advance portfolios, and deepen the impact of each individual investment, adding that the technical committee for the establishment of the fund is set to provide more details on how everyone can be involved in the process.

“The initiative of a Wholesale Impact Investment Fund by the National Advisory Board for Impact Investing (NABII) in close collaboration with the European Union, the German Agency for International Development (GIZ) and Ford Foundation is heartily received as an alternative instrument for effective implementation of public welfare and social schemes.

“It is worthy to note that the capital deployed for impact investing in Nigeria increased by 147% from $ 1.9 billion in 2015 to $4.7 billion in 2019 before a decline to $ 2.7 billion in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The need to realign the extant regime for the effective mobilization of domestic resources for the benefit of our teeming masses can therefore not be overemphasized.

“In outlining measures for achievement of our development aspirations, the National Development Plan 2021 – 2025 clearly identified opportunities for mainstreaming the concept of Impact Investing for productivity in various areas of the economy.

“The strategic areas envisaged for productivity and economic growth through impact investing include but are not limited to upscaling renewable energy capacities, utilization of our natural resources for import substitution and enhanced foreign exchange earnings, building a circular economy, improving the bio-economy, as well as, strengthen preparedness and responsiveness to disaster management across the geo-political regions,” he said.

The Minister went on to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will leave no stone unturned in liaising with all stakeholders for the implementation of proven solutions for optimum national productivity as per the National Planning Act 1993 No. 71.

“On the basis of the National Social Protection Policy (2017), the Administration of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari has implemented various intervention programmes for increased investment and participation within the social protection space.

“The Government demonstrated its resolve through the annual appropriation of funds commencing with N500 billion in 2016 for activities with bearing in the areas of employment, improved school enrolment as well as poverty reduction.

He added, “Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, while the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and other unfavourable global economic trends including fall-outs of the Russia-Ukraine crisis tended to diminish the impact of the efforts for improved social well-being, there is no gain in saying that implementation of the initiatives were without fundamental challenges.

“As such, the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy 2021 was introduced for effective coordination and integration of schemes to address the multidimensional facets and rate of poverty, especially at the grassroots.

“At the heart of the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy 2021 is the need for broad-based collaboration in curbing the rate of decline into poverty in Nigeria.

“The stakes are high and the task requires concerted action in lifting 35 million Nigerians out of poverty as earmarked for the Medium Term, 2021 – 2025.”