The House of Representatives yesterday passed into law “A bill for an act to amend the Nigerian LNG (Fiscal incentive, Guarantees and Assurances) to make its statutory contribution to the NDDC fund and for other matters connected therewith.”
The bill seeks to enforce the payment of three per cent of the annual budget of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited into the coffers of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
It also contained various penalties for stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, who act against the interest of the NLNG or the oil-producing states in the Niger Delta.
The bill, sponsored by Minority Leader Leo Ogor, would be forwarded to the Senate soon for concurrence.
The revised bill now has a new provision which is an added Section 7b to the Principal Act, which provides that “Notwithstanding section 7 or any other provisions of this Act, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited shall pay three per cent of its total annual budget to the NDDC as required by section 14 sub-section one and 2b of the NDDC Act establishment Act, 2000.
Those opposing the bill argued that if allowed, it would stifle investment in the oil and gas sector.
During a hearing on the bill, organised by the House Committee on Gas, stakeholders stressed that the amendment would affect efforts to bring foreign-direct investments into critical areas of the nation’s economy.
While presenting the bill, Ogor said it would further seek to prevent total degradation of the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region, which had extensively depleted its ecosystem over a long period of time.
According to him, gas flaring has wrecked untold environmental and health havoc on the people of the Niger Delta for decades and therefore became necessary to curb it, using available means as a matter of urgency.
He said: “The only way we can solve this problem is to bring relevant amendments to it, 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.”