President Jonathan seeks better management of oil revenue

President Goodluck Jonathan said Monday he has proposed legislation aimed at improving the country’s handling of its oil revenue by creating a special fund for savings and infrastructure. The announcement comes ahead of January elections and follows a list of proposals from Jonathan related to the country’s poor infrastructure, including plans to remake the country’s woefully inadequate power sector. His proposal to create a sovereign wealth fund would replace an existing arrangement that sees the government put crude revenue above a benchmark price in a savings account. That account has been greatly reduced in recent months for a variety of spending, while the new fund would have more stringent rules on how the money would be managed.

“I have forwarded a bill to the National Assembly to create a National Sovereign Wealth Fund to ensure that we have the legal underpinning for national savings and also have the fund act as a vehicle for attracting and channeling capital flows to critical infrastructure,” Jonathan said. He said the federal government, in concert with state governments, has already set aside one billion dollars as seed money for the fund.