Buhari to revisit NIMASA-NLNG imbroglio, to curb impunity

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his Government would take a harder look at the imbroglio between the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), so as to curb impunity on both sides of the divide.
The President gave the assurance during his media chat, even as he warned that Government may not pay equal attention to the welfare of new students going overseas for studies, as those who are already, in terms of Government provisions.
Buhari said Government was determined to ascertain the actual status of the face off, in terms of how much the NLNG actually paid, why it allegedly declined payment due to Government, as well as what happened to the monies it actually remitted to the agency.
Specifically, he assured that every monies collected by Government parastatals and institutions would first be paid into Government coffers, as the era where agencies like NIMASA, Customs, NNPC collect and spend government revenue before remitting the rest is gone.
The Dr. Dosumu led NIMASA management had taken up a case with the NLNG, stressing the need for the latter to pay 2 percent cabotage and 3 percent freight levies for shipping by Bonny Gas Limited, a subsidiary of NLNG.
But the jaw-jaw snowballed into a real fight, under Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi in 2013, when the NIMASA bared NLNG operations for non-compliance, resulting in a legal battle which culminated in the agency collected about N22 bn. The actual sum was estimated at well over $400million.
The NLNG while playing for time, had argued that the (Fiscal Incentives, Guarantees and Assurances) Act of 2004 Laws of the Federation, granted it exemption from the payment of taxes to government of Nigeria for a period of 10 years or till the achievement of a certain minimum threshold in the price of gas.
It also relied on a paragraph in the Second Schedule of its enabling Act which exempted it from being bound by any new laws, regulations, taxes, imposts or charges of whatever nature.
Meanwhile, the President during the media chat also warned, that his Government, perhaps on a bid to save hard currency, may pay more attention to Nigerians who are currently studying abroad, over and above those who would be proceeding on such ventures, beginning from this year.