Nigeria is on the verge of losing about $25.5 million of its direct foreign investment (DFI) as soon as the ongoing amendment of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Act of 2004 sails through.
But this threat is not deterring the chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who is insisting on pushing for the review of the Act to address “the environmental issues and lack of compensation to the host communities in the Niger Delta.”
An interest group, the Petroleum Club, had, in its memorandum to the National Assembly, jointly signed by its board chairman, Otunba Funso Lawal and Dr. G.S. Ihetu, chairman, board and Policy Committee, faulted the assertion that NLNG contributes to about 15 per cent gas flaring in Nigeria.
The group said since the gas firm is not into oil producing, it should not be included among companies polluting environment of the host communities.
But proponents of the amendment have maintained that it will see NLNG paying dues to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which already has 16- years arrears, payment of which will help in arresting the militancy in the region.
Lending his weight behind the anti amendment calls, the outgoing managing director of NLNG, Babs Omotowa, confirmed that some foreign investors had threatened pulling out from Nigeria, if the move was not stopped.
He said there is an urgent need to realise the sub-sector’s plans to create about 30,000 jobs and generate additional $2 billion yearly to its current revenue yield to the economy.
Experts said NLNG should rather be encouraged to contribute in reducing gas flaring in Nigeria from its present 65 per cent to below 20 per cent, as recommended by international law, without amending its act.
It will be recalled that Nigeria has been suffering massive withdrawal of foreign investors from its shore since the fall of oil price at the beginning of the year and nothing seems to be wooing them back.