Fighting Corruption With The Existing Laws Is A Challenge At NPA – MD

Amaechi Forms Panel To Investigate Allegations Against Bala-Usman
Amaechi Forms Panel To Investigate Allegations Against Bala-Usman

Fighting corruption and ensuring compliance with existing laws is a challenge at the ports the managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman noted.

Speaking on Arise TV on Thursday, the NPA boss said some private companies lay claim to signed agreements which are against regulatory obligations.

She said the ports authority challenged the fees collected by Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL), a maritime security company, for securing vessels on Nigerian waters.

Usman explained that the maritime company received $17 million between January and July 2020 of which no share was remitted to the federal government.

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“The pushback has to do with corruption fighting back when you institute reforms that seek to prioritise government’s interests and recognise that the citizens and Nigeria as a country is a priority over private companies that have signed some agreements that are not in compliance with regulatory obligations. That is a huge pushback that I have received,” she said.

“On OMSL, it is the secure anchorage area where vessels are made to pay for being secured within the Nigerian ports. And this started in 2013 to provide that platform in partnership with the Nigerian Navy.

Fast forward to 2017, we felt that it wasn’t necessary for people to be paying money to secure their vessels on waters. It is the responsibility of the government through Navy and NIMASA to secure at zero cost to the owners.

“Just between January and July, OMSL received $17 million in revenue for securing vessels and none of those revenues went to the coffers of the federal government.

“We have directed the cancelling of the secure anchorage and we are having discussions with the vice-president on concluding that. We have given the directive to dismantle because it completely beats my mind how you can justify that activity.

“On Intels (a logistics and facilities services provider in the maritime and oil and gas sectors), we have the issue of non-compliance with treasury single account (TSA). They realise that have to comply and after a lot of pushbacks they complied.

“Now their contractual relationship with us on service boats has expired but they have gone to court to request for them to remain as the first-party provider which is ridiculous.”

Speaking on the attack on NPA building in Lagos during the #EndSARS protests, Usman said the ports authority will recover from the loss through insurance claims.

She said despite the coronavirus pandemic, the NPA generated ₦291 billion as revenue between January and October 2020 — although she noted that ₦298 billion was the total revenue generated from January to December 2019.

The NPA boss explained that efforts are ongoing to deploy scanners to the ports in reducing clearance delay, adding that the electronic call-up system will be unveiled in January.

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