By Seun Ibiyemi
The Nigerian Ports Authority has raised alarm over 18 terminal operators owing Federal government the sum of $753 million and N1.61 billion (N490billion), in Audit Query presented to the National House of Representatives by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
The Query revealed that the funds were being owed by the Terminal operators as at December 31, 2019.
The report of the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation was based on alleged non-compliance, internal control weaknesses issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the federal government of Nigeria for the year ended 31st December, 2019.
The 18 terminal operators are operating at the Lagos port complex, TinCan Island port, Delta port, Rivers port Complex, Onne Port Complex and Calabar Port Complex.
The query identified the terminal operators owing the said funds as; APM Terminal, Apapa owing $562 million, Apapa Bulk Terminal $4,621.20, ENL Consortium $957,020.77, Greenview Development, $20.8m and Standard Flour Mills $893.77.
Others include Intels Nigeria Limited, operators of Terminal A at the Delta Ports Complex owing $2,429,382.80, Intels Nigeria Limited, 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 which is owing $1.7m.
The rest are BUA Ports and Terminal Limited owing $12,254,424.55, Port and Terminal Operators Nigeria Limited, $107m, Brawal Shipping Nigeria Limited, $226,541.72, Intels Nigeria Limited operating at Onne Port Complex owes $430,404.81, Intels Nigeria Limited also at Onne Port is owing another $670,954.72, the same Intels Nigeria Limited owes another $1.9m also at Onne Port while Shoreline Logistics owed $1.2m.
In the documents submitted to the House Public Accounts Committee as part of its response to the investigation, the NPA management confirmed that the original debt owed the federal government by the port operators stood at $852,093,730.77 and N1.9m.
It however disclosed that out of the initial amount owed by the terminal operators, $753 million and N1,6 billion remains outstanding and have not been paid.
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko had during his appearance before the Committee lamented the billions being owed to the federal government by the Terminal Operators and other industry players in the maritime sector.
He added that despite its efforts, the NPA was unable to recover the debts and therefore sought the assistance of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Chairman of the Committee, Wole Oke (PDP Osun) promised that the National Assembly would wade into the matter and ensure that the funds are recovered and remitted to the federal government.