INTELS Nigeria Ltd says the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) did not give the organisation room to address issues raised by the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in the execution of its pilotage agency agreement.
INTELS spokesman, Mr Bolaji Akinola, said this in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday in reaction to NPA’s insistence to terminate the pilotage agency agreement with the firm.
The Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Usman, had told newsmen on Monday in Lagos that the organisation was in support of the advice of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami that the boats pilotage monitoring and supervision contract with INTELS be terminated.
Usman said that INTELS refused to comply with the directive to pay into the TSA. Akinola said that the issues arose because the pilotage agency agreement signed in 2010, did not envisage the TSA and as such did not factor it in its implementation.
He explained that INTELS borrowed $1.4 billion (N428.4 billion) from banks to execute the agreement with the understanding that the debt would be offset from monies realised from the pilotage services paid directly to the banks.
The INTELS spokesman said that series of meetings, letters and proposals on how to resolve the TSA imbroglio was rejected by the managing director of NPA. He recalled that on May 5, INTELS sent a letter to NPA proposing the opening of a jointly-signed account between the company and NPA into which the boat service revenues would be paid. Akinola said that the proposal, like many others, was turned down.
He also faulted claims by NPA that the contract was terminated based on the advice of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
“At what point are revenues eligible to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund?
“NPA acting on behalf of the Federal Government entered into a profit-sharing agreement with INTELS for 72 per cent of the revenue to go to NPA while 28 per cent is for INTELS. “The objective interpretation of the Constitution should be that the revenue due to the Federation should be the 72 per cent due to NPA,’’ he said. Akinola said that NPA could not fault INTELS in the execution of the contract, which was handled most diligently.
According to him, INTELS faithfully implemented the pilotage agency agreement and also substantially boosted government revenue.
“We took the pilotage service from a revenue stream of a few thousand dollars per month to multi-million dollars per month service,’’ Akinola said.
The INTELS spokesman said those who criticised the company’s operation are “either ignorant or mischievous’’ of the company’s monumental achievements and value addition to the Nigerian economy.
He noted the effects of the present development on government revenue, huge investments and several jobs. Akinola said that all attempts by the management of INTELS to resolve the TSA `imbroglio’ met brick wall. The NPA managing director also recalled that on May 31, she wrote a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation and sought clarity on the matter. She noted that she started work 15 months ago and had since then been raising letters and held meetings with the management of INTELS to comply with the directive on the TSA. “Will I spend 15 months talking to a company to comply with the constitution of the country? she asked. Usman explained that all further attempts by the NPA to get the company to obey the payment directive were futile. According to her, NPA management will proceed on a transitional arrangement to engage another firm.