The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) on Tuesday offered to provide 50 per cent of the total N60 billion required by the federal government and its agencies to construct the Bonny-Bodo Road.
The road, handled in conjunction with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has been one of the long-standing government projects in the Niger Delta.
But, the NLNG management told the Senate Committee on Niger Delta in Abuja that it would provide 50 per cent of the N60 billion funding if the NDDC and the federal government accept to make up the balance.
The road is of economic importance to thousands of Nigerians, mainly from the Niger Delta region living on Bonny Island as well other Niger Delta residents in Ogoni, Okrika, Eleme, Andoni in Rivers State.
On claims that the NLNG was exempted from paying three per cent Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) levy by virtue of the provisions of the NLNG Act of 2004, the company clarified that the matter was still a subject of a legal action initiated by the NDDC in 2005.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, Babs Omotowa, said the case had gone from the High Courts, through the Appeal Court to the Supreme Court in October 2011, with all rulings in favour of NLNG.
“Nigeria LNG Limited is a law-abiding company and has continued to operate within the confines of local and international regulations and the laws since inception,” Mr. Omotowa said.
He said NLNG’s financial contributions to Nigeria and the Niger Delta have been significant, pointing out that apart from $3.6 billion (N720 billion) paid as Company Income Tax and Education Tax in 2014 and 2015, another N6 billion was paid annually to the Rivers State government and N140 million annually to the Bonny Local Government Council.
“NLNG is unable to honour unlawful payment demand such as NDDC is making, for the single reason that such action would be in violation of the law and would project Nigeria in negative light with international community from where foreign investments are required even at this crucial time,” Mr. Omotowa said.
Regardless, he said NLNG would continue to contribute to the development of the Niger Delta through its unique approach to corporate social responsibility in areas of human capital, Infrastructure development and enterprises.
Apart from hundreds of young Nigerians from the region who benefited from NLNG post-primary, undergraduate and overseas post graduate scholarships, some 250,000 residents on Bonny Island have access to uninterrupted electricity supply, pipe borne water and accessible roads.
Bonny Island, he said, also houses NLNG’s Vocational Centre accredited by UK City and Guilds Institute, and provides technical and entrepreneurial skills training for hundreds of community beneficiaries.
In addition, NLNG initiated a $1 Billion Vendor Finance Scheme in 2013, which affords local businesses access to low cost finance to encourage local content development and enable growth.
“NLNG also recently signed an MOU with Bonny Kingdom for the economic development of the Kingdom over a 25-year period. The company committed to contribute N3 billion per annum towards this MOU to be managed by the community,” he said.