- Terminal Operators, Others Owe NPA N30b
Terminal operators are owing the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over N30 billion.
NPA’s Managing Director Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, sources said, was furious when she learnt that four terminal operators and two firms at Onne Port were owing the agency $7,931,247 and N9,458, 785,726.
The debt excludes what the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other terminal operators are owing the agency.
Ms. Usman has directed NPA’s accounts section to recover the debt so as to boost the nation’s revenue profile.
During her visit to Onne, the NPA boss said agreements signed with the operators and others would be reviewed, stressing that her administration would plug all loopholes to ensure transparency and accountability.
She directed all firms to collect their receipts after transactions, saying NPA would pay revenue generated to the Federal Government through the Single Treasury Account (STA).
Ms Usman also directed that a competitive tariff and pricing regime be introduced at all sea ports, saying NPA would ensure that operators complied with the agreements they had with the government.
She urged the debtors to pay up, or face sanction, saying she was not happy with the neglect of the quay apron by some operators.
Ms Usman accused some of the operators of violating the concession agreement they signed with the government at Onne Port, threatening to take action if one of them fails to fix the collapsed Berth 8 section of the terminal.
A senior Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF) official said that the debts of three concessionaires on lease and throughput fees amounted to $1,56 million.
NPA, the official said, would double its revenue next year if operators complied with the agreement they signed.
Many of the companies, including some operators, it was learnt, were contesting the NPA’s right to charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on services provided by the authority.
Investigation revealed that the amount withheld as VAT by the protesters is N705.8 million.
NPA, it was learnt, is insisting on collecting the VAT because the Federal Inland Revenue Service may ask it to pay the tax, if the it fails to collect the money.
Some of the challenges militating against revenue generation which Ms. Usman has taken steps to address, include:
- the need to have a modern signal/control tower;
- an efficient signal station to monitor ship and other activities in the ports;
- going to court over NNPC and other terminal operators’ debts
- provision of pilotage services by the NPA;
- addressing Information Communication Technology ( ICT) challenges to improve service delivery through automation, hardware and speedy network;
- provision of marine craft and operational vehicles;
- removal of abandoned service boats, barges and canoes on the waterways/channel and
- the provision of transit accommodation for pilots embarking and disembarking from vessels in Bonny Town .