- We’ve Paid $15bn Dividends, $6.5bn Taxes to FG – NLNG
The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited said on Wednesday that it had so far paid to the Federal Government dividends in excess of $15bn.
The Managing Director, NLNG, Mr Tony Attah, who gave the figure in Abuja, also said the company had paid $6.5bn in taxes since 2009.
Attah was testifying before the House of Representatives Committee on Gas Resources and Allied Matters chaired by a member from Bayelsa State, Mr Frederick Agbedi.
The committee is investigating the alleged plans by the government to sell its share holdings in the NLNG.
It is also conducting a public hearing on two other resolutions of the House to “investigate the Contract for the EGP 3B Production Platform, following the Joint Venture Agreement with the NNPC/Chevron” and “investigate the Contract for the Upgrade of OML 58, the Execution of Obite/Ubeta/Rumuji Pipeline/Northern Region Pipeline Projects.”
Attah told the committee that the company had been fulfilling its obligations to the stakeholders, especially the government as well as reducing gas flaring in Nigeria. The MD thus dismissed the allegation of the planned sale of the company.
He spoke further, “Despite our contribution to the country, a lot of it is monetary; more than $100bn revenue and about $15bn dividend to the government directly and since we became tax-paying company in 2009, we have contributed more than $6.5bn in taxes, helping to build a better Nigeria but essentially, we do more than financial contribution.
“As a result of Nigeria LNG being in existence, we have helped reduce gas flaring by more than 65 per cent and will continue to work with our upstream suppliers to mop up more because we produce the opportunity as the biggest gas sink for whatever gas is provided in the country.
“We have the capacity to receive that gas but I think by far the biggest opportunity is in Nigeria’s brand and reputation. Before the NLNG, Nigeria was actually number two on the undesired league of gas flaring nations in the world. But today, we are number seven ahead of other countries like the United States. I mean, the United States is flaring more than Nigeria.”
Recall that on Tuesday, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, made a submission to the committee, denying knowledge of the alleged plans by the government to sell the NLNG.
The minister was represented by the Director, Gas Resources, Mrs Esther Ifejika.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mr Maikanti Baru, made a similar denial. He was represented by the NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Mr Bello Rabiu.
Recall that last May, the House, through a resolution, ordered an investigation into the allegation, following a motion indicating that the aim of the sale was to generate money to inject into the country’s economy.
A motion moved by a member, Mr Randolph Oruene-Brown, drew lawmakers’ attention to the report of the 2016 Ministerial Retreat, where the government proposed to generate between $10bn and $15bn to inject into the country’s economy.
Oruene-Brown had said that to achieve the objective, the government had announced that it would put up key assets for sale, including its holding in the NLNG.
The House later gave the Agbedi-led gas committee the mandate to probe the planned sale, but one after another, the stakeholders claimed not to be aware of the plans as they appeared before the committee on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Attah stated, “We have been invited on the purported sale of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas. We actually came in to express our views, that first of all, we are not aware of any intention or intent to sell Nigeria LNG or sell out its shares based on confirmation from our shareholders.
“We have gone to our four shareholders, NNPC, Total, Shell and Eni; they all confirmed that they were not interested to sell their shares. For us, it came as a surprise.”
Speaking further, Attah gave the distribution of the shareholding, saying that the government owned 49 per cent through the NNPC; Shell Gasa BV, 25.6 per cent stake; Total, 15 per cent; and ENI International, 10.4 per cent.
Contrary to the alleged planned sale, Attah informed of the company’s $6bn capacity development project for the Train 7, with the potential to provide 12,000 new jobs to Nigerians.
Dangote Fertiliser Plant to Commence Shipment of Urea in March 2021
Dangote to Sells Petrol in Naira, Plans to Commence Urea Shipment in March 2021
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said Dangote Fertiliser Plant will commence shipment of Urea in March 2021.
The CBN governor disclosed this during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.
Emefiele further stated that Dangote Refinery would sell refined petroleum products in Naira when it starts production.
This he said would save the country from spending 41 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products yearly.
“Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira,” Mr Emefiele said.
“That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear. We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.”
Emefiele explained that this will make the price of Nigeria’s petroleum products affordable and cheaper in naira.
“If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Mr Emefiele said.
UK Budget 2021: Will Sunak’s Budget Run Into Unintended Consequences?
Rishi Sunak’s Budget will encourage higher earners to consider their “international financial options” and will drive businesses away from the UK, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations.
The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the Chancellor delivered his 2021 Budget in the House of Commons, his second since he took on the role.
Mr Green says: “The Chancellor has got an extraordinarily difficult hand to play as he tries to stem the economic damage caused by the pandemic, support jobs and businesses and, crucially, rebuild the public finances.
“Whilst Mr Sunak is being hailed a hero for the continued and unprecedented levels of support, it should also be remembered that he is – in a stealth move – dragging more people firmly into the tax net.
“He is raising taxes under the radar.
“Yes, there is no income tax rise. However, he is freezing personal tax thresholds, meaning as incomes rise and thresholds don’t, he is able to raise money by fiscal drag.”
Earlier this week, the deVere CEO noted: “Those most impacted by this stealth move will be looking at the financial planning options available to them, including international options, in order to grow and protect their wealth.”
Rishi Sunak also confirmed that corporation tax will increase to 25% from 2023, up from the current level of 19%.
Of this tax hike, Mr Green goes on to say: “Lower corporation tax helps job and wealth-creating business to survive and thrive. It also helps attract business to move and invest in the country.
“Instead of increasing taxes, Mr Sunak should have relentlessly focussed on growth and stimulus policies for businesses. This would have been of greater help to firms, the economy, jobs and, ultimately, the Treasury’s coffers.”
He adds: “Again, this corporation tax hike is likely to serve as a prompt for businesses to consider their overseas financial options.”
The deVere CEO concludes: “The Chancellor had to perform a tough juggling act. But stealthily dragging more people into the tax net and raising corporation tax might have negative, unintended consequences for the Treasury’s bottom line.”
Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme
Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme
A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.
NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.
The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.
“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.
The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.
It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.
But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.
NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.
The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).
The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.
“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.
The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.
“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.
NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.
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