By Ajibola Abayomi,
February 1, 2018.
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has ordered the oil and gas giant, Intels Nigeria Limited to pay up its debt of over $48million within two weeks failure which the withdrawn pillotage contract will subsist.
Last year, the Federal Government had through the NPA cancelled the oil pilotage contract given to Intels over the company inability to comply with the Treasury Single Account policy.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Usman handed the ultimatum to the oil and gas firm during an interview monitored CBNC Africa in Lagos.
Said the MD, : “I am giving Intels a possible two-week window to provide payment, two weeks from now, following which the notice of termination will not be withdrawn.
“One of the issues we have had with Intels is their non-compliance with the TSA. As you are aware, the Nigerian government instituted the treasury single account which is the account that all revenues of government need to be paid into.
“Intels collects revenue on behalf of the Nigeria Ports Authority and had refused to comply with TSA and kept retaining those revenues in their coffers.
“So we insisted that they must comply, no company is above the laws of the country and we went through the whole process,” she was quoted to have said in the interview.
She accused the company of deliberately ignoring the rules of operation in the country saying “I think it’s important for all entities operating in an environment to adhere to the rules and regulations.
“What we seek to ensure is with you have a level playing field and you must comply to regulations. At no point was Nigeria Ports Authority not going to remit their own portion of the revenues.
“All other third-party agreements that we have in the Nigerian Ports Authority have a similar structure, so why should Intels feel it can operate outside of the law? The other companies are complying, why don’t you comply?”
In September, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had asked the NPA to void the boats’ pilotage agreement it had with Intels.
Malami said the agreement, which allowed Intels to receive revenue on behalf of NPA for 17 years, violates Sections 80(1) and 162(1) and (10) of the constitution.
The AGF wondered if the management of the NPA and Intels did not take cognisance of the relevant provisions when negotiating the agreement in 2010.
However, Intels last year insisted that it had settled the dispute with NPA and was awaiting the AGF’s clearance.
The firm admitted the infractions and apologised for its initial rejection of the regulator’s directive on the TSA, stating its readiness to comply.
In its apology, dated October 25, 2017, Intels, through one of its directors, Silvano Bellinato, suggested that an agreement that would ensure “mutual business satisfaction” be signed between the company and NPA.