The president of Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), Engineer Dada Thomas has advocated the need for the Federal Government to use huge underutilised pension fund to build gas pipeline infrastructure in the country.
He also said such investment should be done with the requisite safeguard in order to sustain it on the long run.
Dada spoke at an industry forum in Lagos, where he noted that Nigeria needs between $6billion and $12billion to fix infrastructural deficit plaguing the gas sector.
He, however, regretted that the Federal Government does not have the balance sheet to undertake the roll out of the gas pipeline grid any longer.
The investment, he noted will have to be provided through a collaboration between the government and the private sector.
He said: “I am in favour of private sector independent grid operators regulated by a competent and professional regulator operating under the open access code and charging economic and cost effective transportation tariff that would allow decent returns. Although good progress was achieved by the Federal Government team on the Open Access Code System which will facilitate access to usage in existing and future pipelines and make it easy to move gas from one part of the country to another and more importantly usher in the era of gas swaps in Nigeria, the process is stalled due to roll out of the programme.
“There are many other issues such as investment and income currency mismatch and transfer of unacceptable foreign exchange risks to project developers, lack of access to gas assets, over regulations and multiple and conflicting regulatory agencies, inconsistent and policy flipflop, non-alignment of government fiscal ,monetary and budgetary policies”.
He also spoke on the development of domestic gas in Nigeria, saying that the nation has underperformed utilising its benefits in the past.
According to him, Nigeria needs to develop and implement radically different and new policy solutions in a consistent, transparent and equitable business friendly manner to be able to attract investment capital and avoid past mistakes.
He said that Nigeria should grow a profitable, economic and bankable gas industry from producers to consumers that will enhance the energy security in Nigeria, equitable returns for investors, good and consistent returns for the Nigerian nation and people, facilitate local value creation and diversification of the economy that will ensure that Nigeria will meet the needs of a population of 180 million.
He added: ‘I remain optimistic that despite the perfect storm which is buffeting all of us today that if we craft and subsequently implement properly, consistently and transparently the right policies and legislation, going forward Nigeria will emerge from the perfect storm to enjoy a very bright future based on gas”
Source: Daily Independence