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Jonathan Signs Budget, Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, May 27, (THEWILL) – President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Friday signed the 2011 Appropriation bill as amended by the National Assembly.

He also signed the Sovereign Investment Authority bill which created the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

The signing of the N4.485 trillion budget and the investment bill was witnessed by the Vice President Arch. Namadi Sambo, Senate President, Senator David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji and the Minister of Finance, Dr Olusegun Aganga.

The budget was based on a oil benchmark of $75 a barrel.

"I have just signed the 2011 appropriation bill and the sovereign wealth investment fund into law," Jonathan told reporters inside the presidential villa, Abuja.

R-L: Dimeji Bankole, David Mark, President Jonathan, Abba-Aji, Vice President Sambo and Dr Aganga at the signing.

The sovereign wealth fund bill is meant to replace Nigeria's Excess Crude Account (ECA), where it saves excess revenue from the sale of crude above its set benchmark in the budget.

There have been debates on how funds in the ECA are shared amongst the three tiers of government —Federal, States and Local Governments, as there are no clear laws governing how the revenue is shared. The ECA was created in 2003 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund was set up to accomplish three main objectives -- saving money for future generations, provide financing for badly-needed infrastructure, and providie a stabilisation fund to defend the economy against commodity price shocks.

There is about $7 billion left in the account as at April, 2011 up from $1 billion in 2010, even though it had about $20 billion in 2007.