Friday, May 24, 2024

Don’t use ₦20trn pension fund to build infrastructure, Atiku warns FG

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In a post on X on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, Atiku asked the government to halt the plan and explore more creative ways to raise capital for infrastructure projects.

This comes after the Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Wale Edun, unveiled a strategic plan to deploy the ₦20 trillion pension fund and other locally available resources for Nigeria’s infrastructure development.

He made this known while speaking after a two-day Federal Executive Council session chaired by President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday.

The minister described the plan as a significant step towards driving economic progress and addressing critical infrastructure needs.

However, Atiku cautioned that the plan to use part of the pension funds to finance critical infrastructure projects could lead to disastrous consequences.

He also stressed that the decision could have devastating effects on the lives of Nigerians who worked hard to save their money with the hope of enjoying their pension after retirement from service.

“My attention is drawn to a disturbing disclosure by the finance minister and coordinating minister of the economy, Wale Edun, as he addressed state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa on Tuesday, 14 May.

“There is, according to the minister, a move by the federal government to rev up economic growth by unlocking 20 trillion from the nation’s pension funds and other funds to finance critical infrastructure projects across the country.

“The minister has indicated that although “the initiative is expected to attract foreign investment interest over time”, domestic savings are his ‘immediate focus’ for now.

“He provided no useful details, such as the percentage of the funds to be mopped up from the pension funds, for example.

“Even at that, this move must be halted immediately! It is a misguided initiative that could lead to disastrous consequences on the lives of Nigeria’s hardworking men and women who toiled and saved and who now survive on their pensions having retired from service.

“It is another attempt to perpetrate illegality by the federal government,” he said.

“In particular, the federal government must not act contrary to the provisions of the extant Regulation on investment limits to which Pension Funds can invest no more than 5% of total pension funds’ assets in infrastructure investments.

“I note that as of December 2023, total pension funds assets were approximately ₦18 trillion, of which 75% of these are investments in FGN Securities.

“There is NO free Pension Funds that is more than 5% of the total value of the nation’s pension fund for Mr. Edun to fiddle with.

“There are no easy ways for Mr. Edun to address the challenges of funding infrastructure development in Nigeria. He can’t cut corners. He must introduce the necessary reforms to restore investor confidence in the Nigerian economy and to leverage private resources, skills, and technology,” he concluded.

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