Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has advised the management and board of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), to work towards reducing the current 20 per cent of gas being flared in the country, stating that it is by so doing that activities of the gas company would be appreciated by Nigerians.
He also pledged the determination of the 8th Senate and indeed the National Assembly to foster business friendly laws in the country.
The Senate President gave the advice on Monday when he granted audience to the outgoing Managing Director of NLNG, Mr. Babs Omotowa, who came to introduce the in-coming Managing Director, Tony Attah to him.
According to the Senate President, after listening to the opening remarks by the out-going NLNG Managing Director that the NLNG has succeeded in reducing gas flaring in Nigeria from 60 per cent to 20 per cent, said, “there is need to do more. You have to work harder so you can further reduce the current status of gas flaring in Nigeria.”
While pledging the support of the National Assembly in efforts to end gas flaring in the country, Saraki told the management of the NLNG that the National Assembly would not relent in its efforts to ensure the enthronement of business friendly incentives for economic development of the country.
He explained that it was in this regard that the Senate facilitated the review of the railways laws, inherited from the colonial masters over 50 years ago.
The Senate President explained that the review of the railway law is central to the success of economic reforms in the country.
The Senate President, who called for the Private Sector participation in railway development in Nigeria, said that, “no government can fully fund railways development as it is central to economic reforms.”
Saraki also advised the management of the NLNG to ensure that the roads leading from Port Harcourt to Bonny is constructed as it would lead to harmonious corporate community relationship with the host community in Bonny.
The Senate President advised the management of the NLNG to ensure that there is improvement in the use of domestic gas for cooking as it would drastically reduce the use of firewood for cooking in the country and consequently help to preserve the environment.
Earlier, the out-going Managing Director of NLNG, Omotowa, said that he and the management team were at the National Assembly to introduce Mr. Tony Attah who is billed to assume duties as the new managing director of the company on September 1.
He also thanked the Senate President who is the Chairman of the National Assembly for providing a fruitful and conducive atmosphere for the NLNG during his tenure as the chief executive of the gas company, while urging him to extend the same relationship to his successor, Tony Attah.
Meanwhile, Saraki has called for improved bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially in areas of common interest like education and elimination of terrorism.
He stated this when the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, led a delegation of Iranian officials on a visit to him at his National Assembly.
According to the Senate President, “there should be bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially in areas where there are common challenges like in tackling terrorism, science and education as well as in socio-cultural cooperation.”
He said that the visit of the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs marks a new era in the bilateral relationship between both countries, as it would step up cooperation and collaboration in areas with similar interests between Nigeria and Iran.
In urging for cooperation, Saraki said that Nigeria and Iran has similar interests as regard the diversification of the economy, stating, “we are both oil producing countries and the falling price of crude oil has made it imperative for the diversification of the economy.”
On his part, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs told the Senate President that Iran is ready to work and collaborate with Nigeria in education, science and technical fields, stating that there are many Nigerian students undergoing studies in several fields of endeavour in Iran.
The Minister further stated that Iran has scholarship programmes for Nigerian students schooling in Nigeria.
He also said that Iran is ready to collaborate with Nigeria in parliamentary affairs, as both countries are members of several international parliamentary associations.