31 January 2018

Nigeria: NPA Gives Intels Two Weeks to Pay Outstanding Debt

The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has ordered Intels Nigeria Limited (Intels) to pay an outstanding $48 million debt into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the agency within two weeks.

The Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Usman, disclosed this during an interview with CNBC Africa Tuesday.

Ms. Usman added that the NPA will execute the notice of termination on Intels if it does not pay the debt within the ultimatum.

"One of the issues we have had with Intels is their non-compliance with the Treasury Single Account (TSA)," the NPA boss said.

"As you are aware, the Nigerian government instituted the TSA which is the account that all revenues of government need to be paid into. Intels collects revenue on behalf of Nigeria Ports Authority and had refused to comply with TSA and kept retaining those revenues in their coffers.

"I am giving Intels a possible two-week window to provide payment, two weeks from now, following which the notice of termination will not be withdrawn. Intels' notice of termination will stand if the company failed to settle its debt."

Speaking further, she noted it is important for the logistic firm to adhere to the rules governing its operations.

"I think it's important for all entities operating in an environment to adhere to the rules and regulations," she said.

"What we seek to ensure is that you have a level playing field and you must comply with regulations. At no point was Nigeria Ports Authority not going to remit their own portion of the revenues.

"All other third-party agreements that we have in the Nigerian Ports Authority have a similar structure, so why should Intels feel it can operate outside of the law? The other companies are complying, why don't you comply?"

Intels and NPA have been locked in controversy over the operations of the logistic firm in Nigerian ports in the last couple of months.

In 2017, Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice, asked the NPA to void the boats' pilotage agreement it has with Intels saying that the agreement, which has allowed Intels to receive revenue on behalf of NPA for 17 years, violates sections 80(1) and 162(1) and (10) of the constitution.

Consequently, the House of Representatives ordered the management of Intels to remit the multi-million dollar revenue accrued from pilotage service contract into the TSA, within 24 hours.

Chairman of the Ad-hoc committee on the need to ascertain the proceeds of the TSA, Abubakar Danburam, had issued the directive during an investigative public hearing.

He also mandated Intels to provide full details of the amount owed the federal government within 24 hours, just as he threatened to enforce the committee's statutory powers, if the company failed to comply with federal government policy on TSA.

In its response last year, Intels apologised to the NPA and sought an agreement that would ensure "mutual business transaction" between both parties.


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