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Terminal operators groan under scarcity of dollars

–as NPA insist on dollar-denominated payment

—-concessionaires may push for increase in tariff
Eyewitness reporter
Terminal operators in the nation’s seaports are groaning under the acute shortage of dollars which adversely affecting their services.
The shortage was the direct consequence of the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria which recently stopped forex sale to the Bureau de Change(BDC).
Apart from leading to the scarcity of dollars, the policy has also sent Naira into a free- fall in the foreign exchange market, as the local currency has crashed to about N522 to a dollar.
This development has therefore set the terminal operators on a collision course with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over the payment of royalties.
Under the concession agreement, the terminal operators are expected to pay some royalties such as throughput charges, ship dues, and others to the NPA in dollars.
However,  a source close to the terminal operators told our reporter that the concessionaires are finding it difficult to access dollars because of its scarcity.
The source further disclosed that all entreaties to the NPA to receive the payment of these royalties in the Naira equivalent were futile as the agency insisted on payment in hard currency.
Princess Vicky Hastrup, Chairperson, Seaports terminal operators Association of Nigeria(STOAN)
It was further gathered that this hardline posture by the NPA, despite the challenges in accessing dollars by the terminal operators, may pitch the two parties against each other.
“The dollar scarcity is adversely affecting our services and profit margin.
“Apart from the fact that it is scarce, we get it at greater cost due to the continued fall in the value of the Naira.
“It is difficult to get it at the official rate while the rate at the black market is quite high”, a source close to one of the terminal operators lamented.
“Quite ironically, we are still charging old rates for our services as the regulatory agencies have refused us to make adjustments in our tariffs to reflect the current market realities” the source further said.
The source declared that the operators may have to push for an upward review of their charges if they hope to stay in business.
“The only way we can remain in business is to jerk up our tariffs or in the alternative, NPA should accept payment of its royalties in naira equivalent until the crisis in the forex issue is sorted out by government”  the source noted.
However, it appears that the NPA may not accede to such a request.
Even though the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of the NPA, Mr. Olaseni Alakija, was not available for a comment as he was said to be away on an official assignment when our reporter went to his office,  but a source in the agency ruled out the possibility of such concession.
“At what rate in naira equivalent would they( terminal operators) want to pay?
“Is it in the official exchange rate or black market rate?
“If they want to pay the Naira equivalent in the official rates, who pays the shortfall?
“And you know the disparity will affect the revenue of the NPA as well as the remittances to the Federal Government.
“These are the knotty issues that may arise which may not allow the agency to accept payment in Naira.
“Even, apart from that, the dollar-denominated payment is in the concession agreement, so both parties should fully comply”  the NPA source, who begged to remain anonymous, observed.
In the same breath, the Nigerian Shippers’Council, which is the economic regulator, is unlikely to accede to the request for a hike in terminal charges.
It would be recalled that the Council has always maintained that the operators could not impose arbitrary charges on the users of their services, a matter the agency has constantly been at loggerhead with the operators.
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Headlines

IGP grieves over assault on policewoman

Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola

 

— orders prosecution of culprits
 Owolola Adebola

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba,  has strongly condemned the grievous assault of a female Police Officer, Inspector Teju Moses, by her principal who is a Legal practitioner and human rights activist, Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola and her domestic staff comprising the housemaid, one Rebecca Enechido and a male suspect currently at large.

Zainab Duke, a Mbaise-born activist, grievously assaulted her orderly in the company of some accomplices on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at her residence in Garki, Abuja, due to the refusal of the orderly to breach professional ethics by carrying out menial and domestic chores at her house.

The IGP also directed the express prosecution of the arrested suspects who are currently in Police custody, as the preliminary investigation shows overwhelming evidence of culpability on the part of the Professor and her domestic staff.

The IGP has equally tasked the investigative team to ensure that the fleeing suspect is arrested and made to face the wrath of the law.

It is pertinent to clarify that the suspect, Prof. Zainab, who name-drops the IGP, his family members, and other officers in the top hierarchy of the Force has no acquaintance with the Police in any form as erroneously peddled on social media.

The Inspector-General of Police who similarly ordered the withdrawal of all Police personnel attached to the Professor expressed consternation at the fact that an individual who claims to be an advocate for Human Rights could stoop so low as to violate the rights of another individual, a police officer tasked with ensuring her protection.

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Customs

Customs collects N1.7trn  revenue in 8 months

CGC, Ali

 

–embarks on aggressive revenue hunts to meet target

The Eyewitness reporter

The Nigeria Customs Service has collected a whooping sum of  N1,755,386,486,390.02  as revenue in the first eight months of the year spanning January and August.

The service made the highest monthly earnings of N241,903,781,854.46 in August as the service intensifies its aggressive revenue drive to meet the expectations of the Federal Government which has come to rely on the revenue from the service to fund its critical project.

This follows the diversification of government to non-oil sectors and expands its tax base due to the dwindling revenue from the oil sector.
The revenue in the first eight months of 2022 is N363,436,321,614.95 higher than N1,391,950,164,775.97 the customs collected in the corresponding period of 2021.

Abuja has increased its focus on non-oil revenue sources, prompting higher expectations from revenue collection agencies such as the NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), among others.

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Headlines

Jamoh wears OFR diadem as Buhari confers national honour on NIMASA DG

 

The Eyewitness reporter 
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has expressed deep appreciation to President Mohammed Buhari for being conferred with one of the highest national honours in Nigeria, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

The Office of the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has conveyed this good news to Dr Jamoh in a letter of Award which has slated the investiture ceremony for the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Monday, 10th October 2022.

Recall that Dr. Jamoh had served the Nigerian maritime sector as an administrator for over 30 years when he was appointed by President Buhari as the NIMASA DG in March 2020.

Since that time, he has overseen the successful deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project which has played a major role in achieving a reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to its barest minimum since 1994 and culminating in Nigeria being removed from the infamous piracy red list by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.

A hallmark of his tenure at the helm of NIMASA has been his institutionalization of collaboration among stakeholders, within and outside the country, to achieve significant milestones in the sector.

One notable example of this is his initiation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/ Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE), which has demonstrated the positive outcomes of information sharing among regional and non-regional military forces in achieving a secure maritime space.

Reacting to the news on his social media handle, Dr Jamoh expressed gratitude for being considered for the honour stating:

“Words cannot express how humbled I feel to be so considered for the National Honour as an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).

“When I began my maritime journey 30 years ago, little did I know that Almighty Allah would so favour me to rise to the position of NIMASA DG, let alone to be considered for one of the highest honours in the land”.

Dr Jamoh especially thanked His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Standing Committee on National Honours Award for deeming him worthy of the honour while also appreciating everyone who had supported him throughout his tenure as NIMASA Director General, especially the maritime stakeholders.

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