The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has summoned the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mallam Mohammed Bello-Koko and 18 terminal operators over the debt of $753 million and N1.61 billion owed the Federal Government by the companies.
The invitation was consequent upon a query by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to NPA over the indebtedness of the terminal operators doing business in the nation’s ports. Chairman of PAC, Hon. Wole Oke (PDP, Osun), who disclosed this in Abuja, assured that the National Assembly would ensure that all the monies are recovered.
He said apart from the summons, the committee would publish the names of all the debtor operators in national dailies and be blacklisted from further doing business with the government in future.
According to the query, the amount forms part of the debt identified by the Auditor General for the Federation as monies standing against the terminal operators as at December 31, 2019, in its report to the National Assembly.
The terminal operators are those operating at the Lagos port complex, Tin- Can Island Port, Delta Port, Rivers Port Complex, Onne Port Complex and Calabar Port Complex. The Office of the Auditor General for the Federation, had, in his report on non-compliance/internal control weaknesses issues in ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the year ended December 31, 2019 said terminal operators were indebted to the government to the tune of $852.094 million and N1, 878,560,509.57. According to the query: “Agreements signed between NPA and various Terminal operators state that a fixed annual payment of a sum as specified in the schedule below to be paid in (12) equal instalments in each operating year, the first instalment to be paid on the first day of the month after the effective date and then, on the same date of every month thereafter.” But the NPA management in its response to the House committee confirmed that the original debt owed the government by the port operators stood at $852,093,730.77 and N1, 878,560,509.57 only. They said that out of the amount, $753 million and N1, 609,150,534.32 have not been paid by the terminal operators. The query listed the terminal operators and their debt profile to include APM Terminal, Apapa ($562.060 million), Apapa Bulk Terminal ($4,621.20), ENL Consortium ($957,020.77), Greenview Development ($20,750,443.65) and Standard Flour Mills ($893.77). Others are Intels Nigeria Limited, operators of Terminal A at the Delta Ports Complex ($2,429,382.80), Intels Nigeria Limited, and operators of Terminal B of the Delta Ports Complex ($4,589,576.75), and Associated Maritime Services ($328,027.64) and Greenleigh Ports Nigeria Limited ($1,734,492.41). The rest are BUA Ports and Terminal Limited ($12,254,424.55), Port and Terminal Operators Nigeria Limited ($107,311,506.46), Brawal Shipping Nigeria Limited ($226,541.72), Intels Nigeria Limited at Onne Port Complex ($430,404.81), Intels Nigeria Limited also at Onne Port ($670,954.72), Intels Nigeria Limited also at the Onne Port ($1,928,250.44), Shoreline Logistics ($1,181,023.57). Speaking on the high debts profile when he appeared before the committee, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko raised concern about the inability of the agency to recover it despite the concerted efforts made towards recovering it even up to seeking the assistance of the Federal Ministry of Finance.