The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has paid to the Federal Government, dividends in excess of $15 billion.
Its Managing Director, Mr Tony Attah, who gave the figure in Abuja, said the company also paid $6.5 billionn in taxes since 2009.
Attah disclosed this before the House of Representatives Committee on Gas Resources and Allied Matters chaired by Hon. Frederick Agbedi.
The committee is investigating alleged plans by the government to sell its shareholdings in the NLNG.
The committee 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 “ to 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.
He therefore dismissed the allegation of the planned sale of the company.
Attah said: “Despite our contribution to the country, a lot of it is monetary; more than $100 billion revenue and about $15 billion dividends to the government directly and since we became tax-paying company in 2009; we have contributed more than $6.5 billion 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”.
Last Tuesday, the Minister of State for 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 (NNPC’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.
Last May, the House, through a resolution, ordered investigation into the allegation, following a motion that the aim of the sale was to generate money to inject into the country’s economy.
The motion moved by Hon. Randolph Oruene-Brown, drew lawmakers’ attention to the report of the 2016 Ministerial Retreat, where the government proposed to generate between $10 billion and $15 billion 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 when they appeared before the committee on Tuesday and on 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,” he said.