FG SHELVES BORROWING 2 TRILLION FROM PENSION FUND

The Federal Government may have bowed to mounting opposition from labour and other stakeholders against its plan to borrow N2tr from the nation’s N10tr pension assets to finance yearning gaps in infrastructure.

Fielding questions when she met with capital market stakeholders on Monday in Lagos during a visit to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed said; “we won’t borrow from pension fund assets.”

Recall that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had, while chairing a recent meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), said the Federal Government had concluded plans to borrow the said amount.

But Labour leaders like the President of the ULC, Joe Ajaero, was recently quoted as saying Nigerian workers do not have confidence in the sincerity of politicians to deliver on the area of safety of their life-savings when it is entrusted into their hands.

Also responding to the need for pension fund administrators to deepen their play in the stock market and act as a stabilizer, Mrs Ahmed canvassed the need for incentives that would attract PFAs to the market.

The Minister said; “pension funds are very sensitive, so we have to be careful,” recalling that the enabling regulation allows them to invest up to 20% of their funds in stocks.

She said the government was already developing some long-term instruments to enable pension administrators to invest their funds without contravening provisions of the Pencom Act.

The Minister spoke of the government’s readiness to work with capital market stakeholders to create incentives capable of attracting government parastatals and large corporate organisations to utilize the capital market for debt and equity issuance.

Welcoming the Minister to the NSE, Oscar Onyema, the chief executive, said beyond supporting the “capital raising efforts of government through innovative products such as the Green Bonds, the NSE had also developed a framework that supports the issuance, listing, and trading of tax credits; in order to complement the Road infrastructure development and refurbishment investment scheme.