The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts has commenced an investigation of the multi-million-dollar debt owed the Federal Government by terminal operators at the nation’s seaports. It is also probing the alleged failure by the Nigerian Port Authority to account for billions of Naira accruing to the government under its watch.
As a result, the committee has asked the management of the NPA to explain why it has yet to recover the funds from terminal operators and remit same to the Federation Account. The Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation had issued 12 audit queries against the NPA based on the authority’s financial statement for the 2019 financial year. The NPA has responded to only one of the queries which bothers on the terminal operators’ indebtedness to the government to the tune of $852.094m and N1.897bn. The query quoted the NPA to have said that the sum of N269.410m out of the N1.8bn had been recovered, while N1.6bn invoices processed on the encumbered areas remain unpaid.
The NPA said, “The sum of $504,663,452.37 is volume change on fixed 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.”
The authority added 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.”