Apparently unperturbed by the Abuja Court of Appeal judgement which restrained Rivers State Government from collecting Value Added Tax (VAT) and sundry taxes yet in the state, Governor Nyesom Wike has set eyes on the collection of $750million VAT to accrue from the $10billion Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 development.
In a statement by his Media Aide, Kelvin Ebiri, over Sunday’s sendoff ceremony in Port Harcourt for out-gone NLNG Managing Director, Tony Attah, the Governor was quoted as saying that, “the 7.5 VAT from the NLNG Train 7 project, will be used to transform the State.”
The figure would amount to $750Million, being 7.5% VAT on the total budgeted Train 7 construction cost of $10Billion.
Wike on the occasion harped on the delayed completion of the N120 billion 38Km Bonny-Bodo Road due to failure of Federal Government to fulfill its N60 billion counterpart funding for the project.
Noting that every fund expended so far on the project had been released by the partnering NLNG, Wike further asserted that, “The Bonny-Bodo Road is not funded between Federal Government and NLNG. I don’t agree. With due respect, it is funded between NLNG, all states of the federation and Federal Government.
“If this country is a country that all of us belong to and all of us mean well for ourselves, that is one project that ought to have been completed by now, because of the economic interest that will benefit all of us.”
On the legacy of immediate past NLNG MD, Wike said Attah will be remembered for overseeing delivery of NLNG corporate headquarters complex in Port Harcourt while ensuring that all fabrication works for the company’s $10 billion Train 7 were done in Rivers.
He said the convivial relationship Attah nurtured and sustained with the State Government has become a challenge for those managing International Oil Companies, IOCs, to cultivate better relationship with State Governments in the Niger Delta.
He said by ensuring speedy completion of the NLNG headquarters in Port Harcourt, Attah had proven that the claim of insecurity in the Niger Delta by IOCs is indefensible.
“IOCs will say there is insecurity in Port Harcourt, insecurity in Warri, insecurity in Bayelsa but there is no insecurity in taking the oil and gas.”
To the new NLNG MD, Dr. Philip Mshelbila, Wike advised he emulates his predecessor to sustain the existing cordial relationship with the state government.
He further urged, “Everybody should come back here (Rivers).This is where it is happening. Philip, opposite you, we have sand filled the area, provided infrastructure. Come and partner with us.
“Chairman (NLNG Board, Edmund Daukoru, the Amayanabo of Nembe) you are from Niger Delta. Tell your people to come and get a place here. They should not be living in Lagos and flying in and putting the cost on your head. Let them come here. The safest place is here. Rivers state is very safe.
The governor used the occasion to reaffirm Rivers State government ownership of OML 11 which was formerly operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company.