The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, said it will sustain its intervention in critical sectors of the economy especially in infrastructure support initiative to help boost the economy.
This was the submission made by Philip Mshelbila, Managing Director/CEO, Nigeria LNG Limited, at the 2021 Grand Award Ceremony for The Nigeria Prizes Lagos, where he recalled that since the company began operations in 1999, it has made significant impact on the economy of the country.
Specifically, Mshelbila, stated that the company’s current contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is about 1 percent while over the years, it has paid dividends of over $18 billion cumulatively to the federal government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
He claimed that as at today, the NLNG remain the biggest tax payer to the federal government and to the State and Local Governments hosting its operations.
Mshelbila, added that while growing the economy, NLNG grows the gas sector and the required manpower and skills needed in its operations. “Over 12,000 direct jobs will be created within the next five years during the construction phase of the recently commenced Train 7 Project.
“We support our community and Nigerian contractors to enable them achieve standards of excellence by enhancing their capacities and capabilities. The efforts in growing local content will pay off significantly in the Train 7 Project.
We can proudly tell Nigerians that 55 per cent of both the engineering and procurement activities of this monumental project will be carried out in Nigeria and by Nigerian vendors while 100 per cent of all installations and construction will happen in Nigeria.
“The impact this will have on our economy stretches further than the project to include improvement in the quality of the people’s lives and stimulating a desire to unleash their innate potentials. Nothing beats the impact a happy and working people have on the economy. Such environment, such social balance, kindles creativity and enables innovation to thrive.”
To achieve this aspiration, Mshelbila said the company is focusing its Corporate Social Responsibility at both the national and local levels on the four pillars of Education, Economic Empowerment, Infrastructure and Health, stressing that an educated, healthy, gainfully engaged citizen living a good life in a secure and safe environment is a candidate for creativity and innovation, for when the mind is free of the mundane, it seeks the sublime.
Continuing, he said, “Since 2012 when we first offered post-primary scholarship to 28 children, we’ve grown to offer what is certainly one of the highest non-government interventions in the educational sector from post-primary level to post-graduate level in Nigeria. You will agree with me that if we should add our aggregate annual spend on the annual prizes for literature and science, we will probably be ranked first in Africa for intervention in education. Such feat has been repeated in the health sector, where we boldly aspire to make Bonny Island the first Malaria-Free-Zone in Nigeria by the year 2025. To further sustain a healthy citizenry, we have provided the people with a sustainable health insurance scheme. Our Covid-19 interventions went far beyond the Island.
We worked with different partners and government authorities to provide technical and strategic interventions to mitigate the spread of the virus. We provided for the island and our other host communities, Rivers and some other State Governments and the Federal Government world class equipment, infrastructure, medical aid, medications, PPEs, and palliatives worth millions of dollars to push back and help contain the pandemic.”
The company, he said is striving to make Bonny a Malaria-Free-Zone in line with its wider vision of making this historical kingdom a major tourist destination in Africa. The multi-billion Naira Bonny-Bodo Road, when completed, will significantly bring Bonny closer to the rest of the world and the rest of the world closer to the Island. The company’s other infrastructure and youth empowerment projects are aimed at further touching the lives of people in their localities, he said pointing that these projects lift the lives of the people, set them free to think, create and innovate.
On the Nigeria Prize for Science, he said the Nigeria Prize for Literature and The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism are designed to encourage the daring mind to imagine, create and innovate with the intent of turning the wheel of development and leading to the emergence of a better man, a better society and a better world.
“I am glad to note that we have a winner for The Nigeria Prize for Literature and for The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism this year. Sadly, we have none in The Nigeria Prize for Science category.”
He said that not delivering a winner in science is painful not just toNLNG, or to the Advisory Board for the Science Prize, but also to those who sent in entries. “It should induce a national feeling of despondence. And it should be a call for us all to rethink the place of science in our curriculum. Science should not belong to the classrooms alone. We all must support its growth and development. I will, therefore, encourage venture capitalists, captains of industry, chambers of commerce and other consumers of innovation to fill this gap by adopting science departments of universities and research institutes in their various communities as part of Research and Development departments.”
He urged companies that do not have such R&D departments could align with the universities as progress partners, pointing that demonstration of care will motivate scientists and researchers to endure the loneliness and long hours it takes to break new grounds in science and technology.