House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has commenced an investigation into the multi-million dollar debt owed the Federal Government by terminal operators and the failure by the Nigerian Ports Authority to account for billions of naira accruing to the national treasury.
The Committee being chaired by Rep Wole Oke is asking the Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority to explain why such a huge amount of money owed to the Federal Government by terminal operators has not been recovered and paid into the Federal treasury.
The investigation is sequel to 12 audit queries from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the financial statement of the NPA for the 2019 financial year.
However, the NPA management has only responded to one of the 12 queries from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation on the indebtedness of terminal operators to the government to the tune of $852.094 million and N1.897 billion.
NPA said the sum of N269.410 million of the N1.8 billion had been recovered while the balance of N1.6 billion “invoices processed on the encumbered areas remain unpaid.”
According to the NPA, “The sum of $504,663,452.37 is volume charge on fix lease fee payment by APMT arising from clauses in the concession agreement between NPA and APMT out of the total sum of $852,093,730.77.
“Bills raised on encumbered areas which remained unpaid is $19,169,459.00. The following has been paid-GMT-$54,707,700.08, unpaid penalties- $11,922,642.68 and unpaid VAT-$28,693,707.07.”
It said further that “$92,533,518.72 has been recovered leaving unpaid lease and Throughout fee in the sum of $139,970,637.71 (made up of $113,982,486.82 and $5,988,150.89), respectively.”
However, not satisfied with the explanation on the issue, the Committee directed the NPA
management to come and reconcile their position with that of that Auditor-General of the Federation and provide evidence of remitting the recovered N269.51 million and $92.534 million to the treasury.
The NPA is also to furnish the House with a contract agreement/Service Level Agreement, the list of all terminal operators as well as a comprehensive schedule of lease fees, Throughout fees and GMT that make up the total amount being owed to the government by the operators.
The Committee is to invite the defaulting terminal operators to justify their reason for not paying the fixed lease fee, Throughput fee and GMT, while the NPA is also to provide details of community-related issues that hindered concessionaires from accessing the encumbered areas.
One of the terminal operators, APMT said to be owing the government a whopping $504663 million dollars is also to appear before the committee, while the NPA is to disclose efforts being made to recover the money and list of consultants engaged to assist in the debt recovery.
On the outstanding estate rent, shipping due and service boat of N32,266,183,590.8 billion and $67,425,429.88, they asked the NPA to provide comprehensive lists/details/schedules of debtors who are owing legacy debts to the tune of 7,293,403,552.55, stating the outstanding debt against each of the defaulters.
The committee also directed “the NPA to avail us a comprehensive lists /details/schedule of debtors who are owing 17,687,440,469.16 being shipping and service boat due. The Recovered amount and the outstanding debt must be stated against the name of each debtor.
The committee is also requesting “NPA to avail us a comprehensive lists /details/schedule of debtors who are owing $27,977,479.97 being shipping and service boat due. The recovered amount and outstanding debt must be stated against the name of each debtor.
“NPA to avail evidence of remittance of the recovered amount totalling $6,647,297.72 to government coffers. NPA to provide a schedule of debts with 0-3 years’ age and a list of in-house committees responsible for the recovery.”
The committee is also demanding the current status of the underlisted legacy debts. Evidence of remittances of part of the debts to government coffer if any is required.