Saraki who spoke during a visit by the Management of the NLNG, led by its Managing Director, Babs Omotowa, said it was high time the gas being flared is converted to something more productive as well as ensure the use of cleaner energy in the country.
He called on the NLNG to invest in gas infrastructure to facilitate the distribution of cooking gas across the country and to eliminate the use of kerosene as cooking energy.
Saraki said: “Up till today, the area of concern is still the issue of gas flaring. What can we do by way of laws to try and see how we can completely eliminate gas flaring and provide more opportunities for more investors in that sector so that they can convert gas into something more productive.
“That also talks about the issue of cooking gas and I believe you can still do more there. I believe you are doing your best within the confines of your responsibilities. I think you all know that this is an important area for all of us as a country – the infrastructure, which I know is not your direct responsibility,
“I believe that you can think out of the box and come up with some ideas where you can use your deeper pockets to come up with some infrastructure solutions where so as to take the lead. Government would find ways of providing the incentives because without the infrastructure we will not be able to push more of the cooking gas.
“And nobody is in a better position than yourself to really drive that area of cleaner energy for us and help us reduce the use of kerosene. So I am going to challenge you on that area that you come up with something and the National Assembly will be ready to support whatever you come up with,” he said.
The Senate President also noted that the NLNG represents a success story of the collaboration between the private sector and government and how it can work given the right law to provide the enabling environment and also given the right management and structure.
He said: “It gives us great pride to see that NLNG is now largely run by Nigerians and it has continued to sustain the foundation laid previously by more expert management but now with Nigerians and you still continue to sustain that, I think that is good to hear.”
The Managing Director of the NLNG, Babs Omotowa, said the uncertainties in the nation’s business environment has made it difficult to attract and sustain investments in the gas sector.
He said he was positive that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) when passed by the 8th Senate would encourage more investments in the sector.
Omotowa said: “I am pleased that you mentioned that the PIB is receiving attention because for many years this was a problem in the industry.
“You also mentioned that a lot more value can be derived from gas. In fact, Nigeria is described more as a gas province than an oil province but unfortunately, because we have not had the right environment, there have been very little investments into it.
“I think the kind of incentives that was granted to the NLNG are the kind of things I think the National Assembly can always look at to incentivize investments,” he said.