The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday denied that the Federal Government had any intentions to sell its stakes in the Nigerian LNG Limited.
He made a submission to the House of Representatives Committee on Gas Resources and Allied Matters at the National Assembly in Abuja. The committee is chaired by a member from Bayelsa State, Mr Frederick Agbedi.
The minister, who was represented by the Director, Gas Resources, Mrs Esther Ifejika, claimed that the ministry was not aware that there was any plan to sell the lucrative plant.
“The ministry is not aware of any plan by the Federal Government to sell the NLNG,” he stated.
Nigeria controls 45 per cent share capital in the NLNG, the same holding the government is alleged to be planning to divest.
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 economy.
Oruene-Brown 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.
He said, “(The House is) aware that 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 House is) also aware that the NLNG is one of the most successful ventures that Nigeria has embarked upon when it started from train one through to the sixth train and now the seventh train in the offing.
“The House is worried that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Nigeria Labour Congress, among other organisations, have seriously frowned on this move and warned the Federal Government against the proposed sale of national assets, especially the NLNG.”
The House later gave the Agbedi-led Gas Committee the mandate to probe the planned sale.
It also gave the committee two additional assignments, one, 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.”