- We saved FG $300m in forex and N60b annually in fertilizer subsidyMedia reports full of ignorant conclusions
From Joseph Ushigiale
As the controversy surrounding the alleged secret recruitment of persons connected to highly placed government officials including Aisha Abba Kyari, the daughter of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, into juicy positions in the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA) continues to assume bizarre twists, the Managing Director, Uche Orji has dismissed the allegation insisting that the agency never embarked on any secret recruitment whether in the past or present.
Speaking in a telephone chat with THISDAY last night, Orji who said he was “shocked and completely surprised at where all the rumours are coming from because all the media accounts are absolutely pointless”; he disclosed that “NSIA undertook a slow but rigorous recruitment process that was open to the public”.
“I am in deep shock because all these stories have no iota of truth and are absolutely pointless. The truth is that we recruit all the time. In 2018, we advertised for certain functions in the agency and over 26,000 applications were received. We are very slow in our process and are very meticulous to make sure no process is circumvented.
“Ms Abba Kyari is even an entry level management employee on the basis of the level she came in. We adopt the American style designation which is something I am used to because of my background but I see it is quite alien here and people suddenly think the position of Vice President is suddenly next to me and then I am threatened.”
According to him, in NSIA’s organogram, Ms Kyari is several level down the rungs of the hierarchy ladder before even contemplating becoming Managing Director. “Her salary is far less than they are speculating and not even N32m and she has no official car. All these speculations would have been avoided if someone took time to ask questions for clarification.”
Asked if he was afraid of being ousted, Orji chuckled and replied that “I harbor no fears, I will serve out my term which expires in 2022 and then return back to where I came from. My former clients are still in touch with me till today and still need me.
“I have been here seven years scandal free and my team and I have pivoted this agency profitably and through our direct intervention, saved the federal government $300m in forex and another N60b yearly on fertilizer subsidy. We also revived and put to use several blending plants across the country.
“In the healthcare sector, our footprints are there for all to see in the area. We have intervened by building cancer centres across the country to provide quality and affordable healthcare in Nigeria to stem medical tourism, save foreign exchange and to show that cancer is treatable.
“I know some people in high places may not be happy with what we are doing here but we are here to produce value for our country and our people. For instance, few people know that through our intervention we were able to renegotiate and reduce the cost of constructing the second Niger Bridge by a very substantial sum. The initial huge cost had inhibited the signing of that project for a very long time before we came along.
“You know, I want to serve my country and go back to where I came from. I have worked at the top levels of global institutions from Goldman Sachs to JP Morgan in 2004, where I was its Managing Director in London to UBS, the Swiss bank in 2006 as its Managing Director too.