11 May 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The management of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd. on Wednesday appealed to the Senate not to amend the NLNG Act for the sake of the nation.
The Manager, Corporate Communications, NLNG, Mr. Tony Okonedo, who made the appeal at the press conference said the appeal was imperative because the bill would soon be submitted for passage to the Senate.
The House of Representatives on May 9 passed a bill seeking to amend the NLNG Act, which will subject the company to 3 percent Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) levy.
He said, “We understand that this bill will be progressed to the Senate. We think that this is a huge error to pass the bill as it is a direct collision with the Federal Government’s drive to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”
Okenedo said that the Act if amended, would adversely affect the NLNG, which is Nigeria’s number one gas company.
“NLNG is proudly the country’s biggest and most successful indigenous company, run by 100 per cent Nigerian management and over 95 per cent Nigerian staff, yet competing effectively globally. It is today the country’s highest tax payer and the 4th largest supplier of LNG in the whole world.
“NLNG is a pride to Nigeria and the nation’s flagship corporation whose model is being considered for replication in various sectors of the economy.
“But the fact that the company is being targeted by this amendment while fellow gas purchasers and processors in other businesses such as fertilizer, petrochemical, and electricity are left untouched, gives the world the impression that Nigeria would rather drag down than support its best,” he said.
Okonedo also said that if amended, the Act would be a threat to the company’s continued existence.
“NLNG succeeded largely due to the provisions of the NLNG Act, which gave investors the confidence to invest in the country. But with an amendment, that confidence will be eroded and jeopardize critical ongoing investments for the continued survival of the company.
“Critical among which is the $1 billion needed annually for the next three years to guarantee the current operation of six existing Trains,” he said.
Okonedo said that the amendment of the Act would also discourage inflow of foreign investment.
“After 35 years of unsuccessful effort, NLNG could only be incorporated upon the enactment of the NLNG Act which then enabled the establishment of the company. To thus amend the basis of the investment in Nigeria will obviously breach the promises of Government to its co-investors.
“This will badly damage the reputation of the country, its credit rating, and ability to attract or even retain future investments. Any amendment will also mean an immediate potential loss of foreign investment of US$25 billion in respect of Trains 7 and 8 investments.
He added that “Also, the expected 18, 000 construction jobs for Trains 7 and 8 will also be lost if the Act is amended. This is at a time when the Niger Delta, and the country at large, is in dire need of jobs.
“Needless to mention the impact of such a huge number of jobs on the peace of the Niger Delta region and the economy of the country. Any amendment will however ultimately result in a return to high flaring if NLNG ceases to exist, with attendant negative impact on the Niger Delta environment.”
The manager advised the Upper House not to pass the bill, adding that the amendment of the NLNG Act would not be in the interest of Nigeria.