Port operators owing the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) are in for a tough time, as the parastatal’s management has given them a deadline of two weeks to pay up their debts. The operators are reportedly owing the agency over ₦40 billion.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had last month given Intels a two-week deadline to pay the sum of $48 million into its Treasury Single Account. Failure to do this, according to its Managing Director Hadiza Bala Usman, will lead to the termination of the agency’s agreement with the company.
Why did it take so long?
For a body desperately in need of money, why did it take so long to take steps to recover the money? Government agencies tend to take a shoddy approach towards collecting revenue, but that appears to have changed with the current management.
Operators at the ports have often complained of their poor state and a lack of equipment. From time to time so-called port rats pilfer contents in containers. Many importers prefer to ship their goods to neighboring ports and bring them through land borders.
A haircut may be needed
Payment of all debts may be difficult, as many of the operators are currently struggling. The economic recession of the last two years, lead to a downturn in activities at the port. The NPA may have to take a haircut on some of these debts.
The Nigerian Ports Authority was established by the Ports Act of 1954. Its mandate includes Ownership and administration of land and water within port limits, Planning, and development of port operational infrastructure., as well as leasing and concession of port infrastructure and set a benchmark for tariff structure.
Other duties include maintenance of safety and security in the common user areas, and enacting port regulations and bye-laws as well as monitor and enforce them.