The New Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly has proposed the establishment of a Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund for effective gas development in the country.
The bill obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria( NAN) in Abuja revealed that the fund would help to facilitate gas infrastructure develoment in the country.
NAN recalls that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had declared 2020 as the year of gas.
He said that Nigeria had more of gas deposit than crude oil and government was making effort to ensure full development of the country through gas.
“Undoubtedly, natural gas has the enormous potential to diversify and grow the Nigerian economy, power its industries and homes, produce ever-so-lacking wealth, create jobs, develop associated industries in the petrochemical sector, raise people out of poverty, the list goes on.
“Naming 2020 the year of gas for Nigeria has a really nice ring to it, but marketing alone will not cut it.
“Concerted governmental action is essential if we are to see true growth in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector, and first of all, we need to see a conclusion to the long delayed Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme,” he said.
The new PIB revealed that the Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund would have a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, adding that it would reside in ‘the Authority’, the proposed regulatory body for the sector.
” The Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund shall have power to acquire, hold, and dispose of property, sue and be sued in its corporate name.
“There shall be a governing council which shall supervise and make investment decision for the fund,” it said.
It further noted that the governing council shall comprise of the minister, who would be the chairman of the council.
“The council will have representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria not below the rank of a Director, representative of the ministry of finance not below the rank of a Director and the chief Executive of the regulatory body ‘the Authority’.
It added that the Executive Director of the fund and two independent members appointed by Minister of Finance for a period of four years would be part of the council.
It said that the Legal adviser of the regulatory body, the Authority would serve as the secretary of the governing council.
On sources of revenue for the Fund, it said that it should not be more than one per cent of the levy prescribed in a regulation under the act, derived from wholesale price of petrol, electricity products sold in Nigeria and natural gas produced, sold and collected on wholesale basis.
” Funds and grants accuring from multilateral agencies, bilateral institutions and related sources dedicated partly or wholly for the development of infrastructure for midstream gas operations in Nigeria.
” Interest, if any payable in respect of Money in the Midstream Gas Infrastructure fund and other sum, freely donated or accruing to the fund for development of infrastructure,” it said.
It added that the regulatory body, ‘the Authority’ would ensure the prompt payment of all such sums directly into the fund’s account.
The bill further noted that the purpose of the fund would be to make equity investments of Government owned participation or shareholders interest in infrastructure related to midstream gas operations.
“Increase the domestic consumption of natural gas in Nigeria in projects which are financed in part by private investment and encouraging private investment among others, ” it added.