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Reps Probe NPA, Terminal Operator Over Unremitted $68m

 

The Nigerian Ports Authority and Ports and Terminal Operators (Nigeria) Limited is allegedly under investigation for failing to remit lease and throughout fees collected between 2006 and June 2022, amounting to $68.473m to the Federal Government.

The Nigerian Ports Authority is being investigated by the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives.

The committee is also investigating PTOL for allegedly using an exchange rate different from the official one approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria in calculating revenue accruing to the government.

The Office of the Auditor General for the Federation raised the issues in an audit query in the annual report presented to the National Assembly.

The Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, had in a submission to the committee, alleged that one of the port operators in charge of the Port Harcourt port in Rivers State and PTOL used their exchange rates in calculating revenue.

Bello-Koko said PTOL used N116 to the dollar at a time when the official exchange rate was fixed at N305 to the dollar by the CBN in 2016.

The written presentation by the NPA, dated July 27, 2022, was in response to a letter from the committee.

According to the NPA, even while using another exchange rate of N151 agreed to after reconciliation, the terminal operator was still indebted to the government to the tune of $68.473m as of October 13, 2021.

The OAuGF had indicted the firm for not paying its lease and throughput fees to the government as and when due.

However, the company counter-claimed that contrary to the query, it had been remitting its lease and throughput fees to the NPA as and when due.

A supporting document submitted by the NPA to the committee tabulated the payments made by two concessionaires (BUA and PTOL) on lease and throughput fees between 2006 and June 2022. The table, however, showed a disparity in the figures owed to the government by the company.

While the document said PTOL was given a bill of $11,333,333.31 and it paid $3,333,333.31 in 2008, the outstanding balance put against the firm was $17,194,444.67 instead of $8m.

Similarly, the bill given to the company for its operation at the Rivers Port Complex in 2019 stood at $10,080,000. However, while the document indicated that the firm paid $3m outstanding, the balance against it was put at $102,714,749.66, a figure far above the bill given to it as its lease fees.