Proposed NLNG sale causes contract stoppage, uneasy calm
Uncertainty over government’s planned sale of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited has started having its tolls on the activities of the firm.
Investigations reveal that projected business activities locally and internationally are being affected.
The past weeks have been agog with debate on whether government should go ahead with its proposal to dislodge its 49 per cent equity holding in the company, proceeds of which are to be used in fighting economic recession facing the country.
It is estimated that more than $6 billion will be realized from the sale of part of the shares, which government says will be five per cent of its shares, even as local and international investors have already indicated interest to pick up the shares.
But lack of consensus on this from various segments of the society and government inconsistency on deciding the volume of shares to sell have started telling on the company’s business activities, according to findings by Ripples Nigeria.
It was discovered that the moral of more than 1500 work force has gone down since the news break of government intention on the company.
They were seen gathering in groups, holding discussions on what might be their fate as there was the fear of job losses, if the policy is implanted.
A senior management staff put it this way: “We are yet to know the definite line that the government is towing and as such, some business activities are being put on hold since the debate over sale is still ongoing.
Read also: ECONOMY: More bad news as NNPC laments depleting oil and gas reserves
“By fourth quarter of the year, NLNG usually signs fresh agreement deals on delivery of new trains to our major partners, but the contractual agreement will now take longer time to come into because of the uncertainty that has been visiting us,” he stated.
An analyst, Solomon Brimoh, said the situation should not be allowed to drag longer, because of its danger of impacting negatively on other sectors of the economy.
“It should not be forgotten that both industrial gas and domestic gas are derivatives of the NLNG product. So if uncertainty is allowed to visit the company, other things will give way for that,” he said.
He said the idea of selling the only remaining national asset should not be the priority of government for now until other avenues of sourcing for funds had been explored, adding however that if the option is imperative, a quicker decision should be taken.
But the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said that the NNPC was committed to promoting diversification in the use of liquefied gas for the growth of all sectors of the economy, adding that NNPC investments in the NLNG are still intact.
He said part of his corporation’s dream of achieving this goal is in the repair work of the Escravos-to-Lagos Pipeline, damaged by the Niger Delta militants.
By Emma Eke ….
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