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NPA keeps mum over missing concession fund

Bello-Koko, Ag. NPA MD
—-as PBE indicts agency
Eyewitness reporter
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has kept sealed lips over the damning allegation surrounding the missing $678.4m(32billion) accrued concession funds.
The  Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), Adolphus Aghughu, in the 2016 audited report of the 2006 concession programme of the Federal government, had accused the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) of not remitting the amount to the federation account.
In a swift reaction to the allegation, the BPE absolved itself of the missing money, asking the AuGF and the Senate, which is probing the scandal, to hold the NPA accountable for the missing fund.
In its written response to the Senate panel, the BPE explained that the concession transactions were done in 2005 and the concession agreement executed clearly showed that the BPE was only a confirming party while the primary party to the concessions was the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).

The agency also insisted that the responsibility for such collection was that of NPA and not that of BPE

“Having midwifed the concession transactions, the BPE collected some of the remittances to the NPA.

“The NPA has since acknowledged the transfer made regarding the rentals received on its behalf by the Bureau.

“Revenue accruing on the ports concession have, beyond 2008, been paid directly to ‘landlord’ (NPA) and not the BPE as the OAuGF report appears to allege.

“We are, therefore, unaware of the $679.4 million.”

Stakeholders are however asking the NPA authority to clear the air on the controversial missing money, adding that  the silence of the agency is uncharitable, given the allegation of the PBE.
Meanwhile, the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) has begun an investigation to unravel the alleged missing concession funds.
According to the AuGF query, 23 companies were granted concessional rent at various ports under the NPA for 10 years and above at an associated yearly rent of $679.4 million payable to NPA as at December 31.

The AuGF alleged that there was no evidence to show that $679 million was collected as at when due and remitted to Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The AuGF query reads: “Twenty-three companies were granted concessional rent of various ports under Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for 10 years and above with associated yearly rent of $679,403,172.00 payable to NPA as at December 31, 2016.

“There is no evidence to show that $679,403,172.00 was collected as at when due and remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

“This has been communicated to the Bureau vide letter with reference number OAuGF/RESAD/05/2016/07, dated April 19, 2018. No response has been received from the Bureau.

“Unremitted funds may be misapplied by the Bureau. Also, it may lead to the diversion of funds to other uses.

“The Director-General is required to show evidence that $679,403,172.00 was collected and remitted to the appropriate authority.”

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NIMASA set to open Lokoja office to harness waterways resources

The Eyewitness Reporter

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has disclosed that the Agency is set to reopen the Lokoja office, as part of efforts towards harnessing the Blue Economy, enhancing collaboration, while also promoting Research and Development.

The DG, who made this known when he played host to the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA), Mal. Usman Hayatu Mazadu at the head office of the Agency in Lagos, noted that investment in research would play a major role in ensuring the harnessing of Nigeria’s maritime potentials.

“The key cardinal principle of opening the NIMASA Lokoja office is to improve on Research and Development.

“Our goal is to establish the nexus in maximizing the use of available resources in the nation’s inland waterways and the deep blue waters within 28 states, spanning over 4000 kilometers of inland waters and over 200 nautical miles of ocean resources; with the coming of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

He said, “Now, the Blue Economy has come to stay and very soon you will see the impact of what we have; in terms of the gains and benefits to grow our Gross Domestic Product while improving the well-being of our own Economy”.

Earlier in his remarks, Mallam Usman of KADSEMA lauded the Agency for the feat achieved so far, which cuts across the entire Nigeria.

While seeking cooperation with the Agency in possible areas, he expressed the readiness of KADSEMA to support the Agency in areas that may be deemed possible.

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Freight Monitor

Prince Nwokeabia rallies support for Comptroller Ukpanah, CAC Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi\command, as she assumes office 

Prince Nwokeabia,
 The Eyewitness Reporter
The Chairman of the Enugu chapter of the Association of  Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Alex Nwokeabia, has rallied the support of his members and other stakeholders in the chapter for the new Customs Area Controller of  Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Area Command, Compt. Comfort Senas Ukpanah as she assumed duty in the command.
In his congratulatory message to the new controller, Prince Nwokeabia, while welcoming Comptroller Ukpanah to the Enugu Customs Command, expressed confidence in the capacity of the new CAC to further drive the command to new heights of success.
The freight forwarder, who described the new CAC as a thoroughbred Customs officer who rose through the rank, believed that Comptroller Ukpanah would consolidate and surpass the achievements so far recorded in the command.
Prince Nwokeabia, while congratulating the new CAC on her deployment to the command, assured her of the readiness of the members of the Enugu ANLCA to support and work for the success of her tenure.
”I, Prince Alex Nwokeabia, on behalf of all the members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Enugu Chapter, welcome our new Area Controller,  Comptroller Comfort Senas Ukpanah, to her new post and wish her a successful tenure.
“The Enugu ANLCA wishes to assure her of our unflinching support and readiness to work with her and her team to ensure the successful implementation of her mandate” the ANLCA Chieftain declared.
Comptroller Ukpanah assumed office as the new Customs Area Controller of Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Area Command on Friday 15th September, 2023.

 She took over from Comptroller AM Adegbite who was re-deployed to Edo/Delta Area Command.

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Customs, UN agency collaborate to fight smuggling

The Eyewitness Reporter

The anti-smuggling efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service has received a boost with the support of the United Nations agency,
United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN—Habitat.
The Customs got the assurance of collaboration from the UN agency on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, when the acting Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi hosted the ambassadors of the global agency led by Dr. Raymond Edoh in his office.
Adeniyi told his guests that the Service, under his watch, will implement every necessary action against saboteurs of Nigeria’s economy to cripple their ‘illegitimate’ business of smuggling.

“On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely.”

He appreciated how they traveled from afar to inform the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started yielding positive results in suppressing the menace of smuggling.

The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.

The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.

“What we’re trying to do is to raise a modern Customs Service through partnering with stakeholders to achieve our goals because we value partnership, and I am happy that you extended your hands of collaboration to work with us.”

He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through a technological approach.

He underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.

On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”

According to him, they decided to visit the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.

He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.

UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.

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