BY EMEKA EJERE

The federal government received a dividend of N144 billion from Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Company (NLNG), an amount 79 percent higher than the  N80.3 billion it budgeted as its share of dividends from the company in the fiscal year ended December 2020.

This is contained in the Ministry of Finance Budget implementation report for the period of January 2020 to December 2020 presented by the Minister for Finance Dr. Zainab Ahmed.

According Ahmed, the federal government had budgeted a sum of N80.3 billion as its share of dividends from NLNG, but received N144 billion, N63.2 billion more or 79% higher than its projected share.

The dividend received from NLNG was a major bright spot in the government’s revenue performance for the year 2020, a difficult year with fall in crude oil prices and the economic shutdown triggered by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

In the fiscal 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%.

The huge dividend windfall received in 2020 is a huge departure from 2017 when Nigeria just exited a recession triggered by falling oil prices and sharp exchange rate devaluation.

The federal government’s share of dividends from NLNG in that year dropped by as much as $687 million, from $1.04 billion in 2015 to $365 million in 2016, a decrease of 65%..