Again! Controversy trails Reps’ amendment of NLNG Act

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THE House of Representatives, yesterday, passed the bill which seeks to make the payment of three percent of annual budget of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited into the coffers of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, through third reading.

Following the passage of the bill promoted by Leo Ogor, Minority Leader, sought to amend the Nigeria LNG (Fiscal Incentives, Guarantees and Assurances) Act, the House is expected to transmit the bill to the Senate for concurrence.

In the new provision, the Act was amended by adding section 7b to the Principal Act, which provides that “Notwithstanding section 7 or any other provision of this Act, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited shall pay 3% of its total annual budget to the Niger Delta Development Commission Fund as required by section 14 subsection 1 and 2b of the NDDC Act establishment Act, 2000.

Recall that stakeholders drawn from the oil and gas industry who converged at the public hearing held at the instance of the House Committee on Gas Resources, had warned against the amendment, which they described as hurtful to investment in the industry.

They argued that amending the Act steering up the company would undermine Nigeria’s efforts at attracting foreign direct investment into critical areas of the country’s economy.

Ogor (PDP-Delta) who sponsored the bill, explained that the bill sought to prevent total degradation of the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region, which has extensively depleted its ecosystem over a long period of time.

The lawmaker lamented that gas flaring had wreaked untold environmental and health havoc on the people of the Niger Delta for decades and therefore it became necessary to curb, using available means as a matter of urgency.

“The only way we can solve this problem is to bring relevant amendments to the Act because our people have suffered so much and I said that it is very important that we appreciate the enormity of the danger present in the region for us to act quickly and as a people hold the NLNG responsible for unnecessary gas flaring using this amendment,” he said.

Reacting to the development, NLNG company contended that the amendment was not in the best interest of the nation, especially as it would project Nigeria as a promise breaker and an unsuitable investment destination.

The General Manager, External Relations of the company, Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, quoting the Managing Director of Nigeria LNG, Tony Attah, said the amendment violated the assurances and guarantees granted the investors by the country, and reinforced by successive governments.

which paved the way for the huge international investment that enabled the company to become a reality and the success story today.

“The amendment to this Act is aimed at redressing the great injustice bring relevant amendments to the Act because our people have suffered so much and I said that it’s very important that we appreciate the enormity of the danger present in the region for us to act quickly and as a people hold the NLNG responsible for unnecessary gas flaring using this amendment.

Reacting to the development, NLNG the company contended that the amendment was not in the best interest of the nation, especially as it would project Nigeria as a promise breaker and an unsuitable investment destination.

The General Manager, External Relations of the company, Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke, quoting the Managing Director of Nigeria LNG, Tony Attah, said the amendment violated the Assurances and Guarantees granted the investors by the country, and reinforced by successive governments, which paved the way for the huge international investment that enabled the company to become a reality and the success story today.

According to the  company, the main thrust of the Guarantees and Assurances were to assure the foreign investors that their investments would be protected by the non-amendment of the NLNG Act, saying that this “is the reason why the NLNG Act has remained intact and protected by all administrations from inception, in recognition of the sanctity thereof.”Vanguard

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