Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Company, NLNG, paid the Federal Government a dividend of N188 billion in the fiscal year ended December 2020.
This is according to the information contained in the Ministry of Finance Budget implementation report for the period of January 2020 to December 2020 and presented by the Minister for Finance Dr. Zainab Ahmed.
During the year, the Federal Government budgeted a sum of N80.3 billion as its share of dividends from NLNG, however, the actual sum received as its share was N188 billion, N63.2 billion more or 79% higher than projected.
The year 2020 was a difficult year for the government as the fall in crude oil prices and the economic shutdown that was triggered by the Covid-19 Pandemic dented projections and ravaged revenues.
NLNG Dividend Bliss
The dividend received from NLNG was a major bright spot in the government’s revenue performance for the year.
- During the year, the government projected revenue of N5.36 trillion but only received N3.9 trillion in revenues representing a shortfall of N1.4 trillion or 27% for the year.
- The huge dividend windfall received in 2020 is a stark contrast from 2017 when Nigeria just exited a recession triggered by falling oil prices and a sharp exchange rate devaluation.
- In that year, the Federal Government’s share of dividends from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dropped by as much as $687 million, from $1.04 billion in 2015 to $365 million in 2016, a 65% drop.
- The N188 billion received in 2020 topped the amount received from signature bonuses only N78.2 billion and complimented the N192 billion received by VAT.
- It is the most effective form of revenue generation for the government.
It was reported that the House of Representatives planned to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from the NLNG account by NNPC without its knowledge and appropriation.
- They had accused the NNPC of illegally tampering with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of 1.05 billion dollars thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
- NLNG is a company jointly owned by Nigerian owned NNPC(49%), Shell (25.6%), Total (15%), and ENI (10.4%).
- The company is located in Bonny Island and has six trains with a total capacity to process 22 million tonnes of LNG a year and as much as 5 million tonnes of natural gas liquids.
- NLNG currently accounts for about 7% of the total LNG supply in the world. Nigeria is ranked as the 4th exporter of Natural Gas in the world.
Upshots: The FG is targeting a revenue of N208 billion from NLNG as dividends in 2021. If this materializes, it will be a significant payout in dividend (in naira terms) competing with the N238.4 billion expected from VAT.
- Important to note that the recent devaluation of the naira will increase the naira value of dividends and other government revenue, as it did in 2020.
- The government also targets N6.6 trillion in revenue for the period under review.