Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

Chairman of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Mr Elias Mbam, yesterday flayed the country’s continuous gas flaring, saying  its 9th largest global gas reserves, leaves it with gas deposits of more than two trillion cubic tonnes.

In a statement in Abuja the chairman, while  regretting  the health hazard posed to the oil-producing communities in Nigeria due to environmental pollution, noted that  gas flaring in Nigeria could be converted and channelled to sectors of the economy that can employ more than two million people in the country.

“The continuous flaring of gas in the country is not in the best interest of the nation. Nigeria as a nation is blessed with an abundance of gas deposits measuring more than two trillion cubic tonnes, making it the 9th largest country in gas reserves in the world. Nigeria has not been able to utilise this. Against the health hazard posed to the oil-producing communities in Nigeria due to environmental pollution, flared gas in Nigeria could be converted and channelled to the economy where more than two million people could be employed” he stated.

Head, Public Relations of the Commission, Christian Nwachukwu, said that Mbam believes that in line with the current dwindling revenue from oil, gas economy could be a safe haven for the country.

The chairman,  however, projected  that Nigeria could generate more than one billion dollars annually from the sector if relevant stakeholders are able to put in place conducive policies in place for the sector to grow.

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Mbam called  for more development of the gas infrastructure with a view to harnessing more revenue from the sector to the federation account.

He  noted  that the potential of gas to revenue generation is enormous and needs to be properly exploited.

Meanwhile, out of Nigeria’s US$81 million pledge to Global Fund, the Federal Government  has contributed only $28.62 million leaving a whopping $52.38 million unpaid.

In a document made available to newsmen in Abuja, the Fund said the financial contributions from governments to Global Fund are critical to ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics, noting that  more than 80 countries have made or pledged contributions to the Global Fund to accelerate the fight against the three diseases but only a few have kept faith with their contributions.

Other contributors to the Global Fund include, the private sector, the civil society organisations and those affected by the pandemic of tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria. But with the  ravaging coronavirus pandemic,  Global Fund, the largest multilateral investor in grants for health systems worldwide, is providing immediate funding of up to US$1 billion to help countries fight COVID-19, mitigate the impacts on life saving HIV, TB and malaria programmes  and prevent fragile health systems from being overwhelmed.