Audit Queries: House Probes NPA over Non-remittance of Multi-million Dollar Revenue

Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has commenced investigation into the multi- million-dollar debt owed the federal government by terminal operators and failure by the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) to remit same to the national treasury.

The probe was sequel to 12 audit queries from the office of the Auditor General for the Federation (AuGF) on the financial statement of the NPA for the 2019 financial year.

The Committee Chairman, Hon. Wole Oke, asked the management of the NPA to explain why such huge amount of money owed the federal government was yet to be recovered and paid into the federal treasury.
But the NPA only responded to one of the queries on the indebtedness of terminal operators to the government to the tune of $852.094 million and N1.897 billion.

The Port Authority 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 remained unpaid.

The NPA management also said the sum of $504,663,452.37 was volume change on fix lease 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. $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,” the agency said

Not satisfied with the explanation on the issue, the lawmakers directed the NPA management to come and reconcile their position with that of that Auditor General for the Federation and provide evidence of remitting the recovered N269.51 million and $92.534 million to the treasury.

The NPA was also asked to furnish the House with contract agreement/service level agreement, the list of all terminal operators as well as a comprehensive schedule of lease fee that make up the total amount being owed the government by the operators.

The Committee is to invite the defaulting terminal operators to come and justify their reason for not paying the fixed lease fee, while the NPA was asked 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 $504 million was also asked 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 dues and service boat of N32,266,183,590.8 billion and $67,425,429.88 respectively, they asked the NPA to provide a comprehensive lists /details/schedule 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 it with 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, they added.

The committee further demanded the current status of the underlisted legacy debts, evidence of remittances of part of the debts to government coffer if any is required.

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