Why we ended Intels’ monopoly, by NPA MD | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News

13.7.17

Why we ended Intels’ monopoly, by NPA MD

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Why we ended Intels’ monopoly, by NPA MD
Logistics services firm Intels’ monopoly over the handling of oil and gas cargo at Nigerian ports was ended in order to improve competitiveness in the economy and also to end the uneven playing field in the sector, managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman said in Abuja yesterday.

Speaking at Daily Trust’s corporate headquarters where she paid a visit, Usman said removal of the monopoly has benefitted many players in the industry and has reduced many operators’ cost of doing business in Nigeria.

The managing director dismissed insinuations that ending Intels’ monopoly was a political move to reduce former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s financial muscle ahead of the 2019 elections.

She said even international oil companies operating in Nigeria had complained that dedicated terminals for oil and gas cargo increased their cost of doing business.

President Muhammadu Buhari approved that any terminal can handle oil and gas cargo and there should no monopoly, she said. Reminded of Intels’ protest that the change amounted to shifting goal posts in the middle of the game, she said that was not correct because at the time the ports were leased, no ports were given a monopoly over oil and gas cargoes.
Intels secured that concession later and goal posts were shifted to and fro over the years with respect to Intels’ monopoly, she said.

The policy was undertaken in Nigeria’s national economic interest and it is unfair to tie it to individuals, she said.

She also spoke on NPA’s struggle to get Intels to comply with government’s Treasury Single Account, TSA.
She said Intels, which is NPA’s managing agent for boat service collection, collects fees on behalf of NPA, lodges them into its accounts, deducts 28%, deducts amortisation for the building of new Onne port, deducts cost of funds for the same project and remits the rest to NPA.

NPA however demanded that all the monies be paid into its accounts in line with TSA and asked Intels to submit its bills for payment but the company adamantly refused.
She said Intels will not suffer any revenue losses by complying with TSA because NPA will settle its bills within ten days and will pay interest on it if there is delay.
She also said Intels’ project to build a $2.7bn new port at Onne was halted because the current port is underutilised.

The NPA MD said she welcomes Senate’s impending probe of NPA over channel dredging contracts.
She said she shared Senate’s concerns that the annual dredging bills, $150m for Lagos and Bonny channels alone, is prohibitive and probably unjustified by the work done.
She said NPA is about to procure an international consultant to carry out a dredging optimisation study which will guide the cost of all future dredging operations.

With regards to Calabar channel, she said the Bureau of Public Procurement [BPP] declared in May 2015 that NPA’s private partner in the company was hired in violation of due process.
The company also got a $12m payment for dredging which is now being investigated, as is another bill it submitted of $21m for which NPA can find no evidence that any dredging work was done.

She said despite ceaseless attacks on her by the private company, she will continue to insist that no payment will be made until a forensic audit of the dredging claim is completed.

Usman said her goal of attracting more cargo to Nigerian ports was hampered by economic recession as well as
some government policies.
She said there has however been an increase in exports especially of agricultural products and solid minerals.
NPA, she said, is already implementing executive orders on ease of doing business by preventing touting, bribing officials and uncontrolled human traffic at the ports.
An executive order to establish a single location for cargo examination is also being implemented, she said,while only seven government agencies will henceforth operate inside the ports while others can only operate from
outside them.

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