Proposed sale of NLNG not in the interest of Nigeria’s economy – Minister

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The House of Representatives has declared that the proposed sale of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) will not be in the interest of the nation’s economy and has urged the Federal Government to suspend the exercise.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Randolph Brown (PDP, Rivers), who expressed fears that there had been proposals by some prominent Nigerians for the Federal Government to sell the multi-billion dollar NLNG to raise funds to reflate the Nigerian economy.

He said: “This proposal was a as a result of the recommendation sometime in 2016 after a ministerial retreat for an ambitious fiscal stimulus plan involving the generation and injection of massive foreign capital.

“The massive foreign capital estimated at between 10 dollars and 15 billion dollars about N 4.72 trillion into the economy to help the recession recovery process.

“The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, stated that one of the ways to fund the plan would be through the sale of some national assets and the proceeds reinvested in the economy to raise the needed capital for infrastructural development.

“The NLNG is one of the most successful ventures that Nigeria has embarked upon when it’s started from train one through to the sixth train and now the seventh train in the offing.”

He expressed worry that the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and the Nigerian Labour union, among other organizations, have seriously frowned at this move.

He added that they also warned the Federal Government against the proposed sale of national assets, especially the NLNG.

“Resuscitating the Nigerian economy from the recession is the actual reason for the proposed sale of the NLNG even though there are other options the government may adopt to resuscitate the economy.

“Also the Government has the option of borrowing on long term against the dividends in the NLNG, convert its Joint Venture Holdings in some multinational oil corporations into incorporated Joint Venture Companies.

“Another option is to encourage wealthy Nigerians who can afford to buy and therefore rooting for the sale of national assets, to invest in the economy, or to set up their own LNG projects, considering the huge reserves of natural gas in the country.

“It should be of concern that Nigerian workers will be at the receiving end if the sale was allowed to go unchallenged.

“Besides, it is not in any conventional economic reality for any nation to resort to selling off its assets during challenging times, as this exhibits leadership laxity and policy myopia”.

The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote, while Committee on Gas Resources was mandated to ensure compliance

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.