We Are Not Relenting On Our Debt Recovery, Not Minding The  Blackmail -Hadiza, NPA Boss

We Are Not Relenting On Our Debt Recovery, Not Minding The  Blackmail -Hadiza, NPA Boss
Hadiza Bala, MD, NPA

Before he commenced his retirement sojourn, the former General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), High Chief Michael Ajayi, led the management of NPA to meet the maritime media. That came several years after a similar forum took place in NPA. It provided the opportunity for the baby-management to directly and collectively interface with the media within their jurisdiction. Many issues were deliberated on as the media made a feast of the moment and the management re-appraised its work process and commitment. MMS Plus was there but it will serve you the excerpts of the moment in parts. Though recent yet still very relevant and fresh. Enjoy the  interventions and answers by the Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman.

We are mindful of the relationship of the agencies across the ports and careful of the duplicity of agencies that has become a challenge. The government needs to be seamless and not create bureaucratic bottlenecks for people. These are some of the things that we want to achieve. We have seen the ban on importation through the land borders and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is ready to have seamless operations of the new system. Some of the traffic that we have seen recently is as a function of the government’s policy. There has been increased activity in terms of importation of vehicles via the seaports and we have put mechanisms in place to ensure that we don’t have bottlenecks in the capacity to handle the increased traffic

Succession Plan
With regards to succession planning such as the General Manager Public Affairs, I have been impressed with the human capacity of the staff of NPA. I have commended the staff and we are keen on sustaining that high level of performance. I have been impressed with what I have seen with the Human Resource department and Iam sure that we can utilize the human resources in NPA to the full before we begin to look outside to find vacancies if we still have such positions. Someone like Chief Ajayi would be missed in NPA because of his experience; we would always need his advice, suggestions and guidance as we chart the course of sustaining interactions with the media and the authority. I have read several investigative reports and I can assure you that as you write we read them and it is also good for us to maintain seamless interaction. My General Manager Public Affairs would always be my General Manager Public Affairs even in retirement. Thank you very much for your hard work.

ISPS Code Compliance
On compliance to ISPS Code, we are aware of this and we have been mindful of it. We are also leading in compliance and recently we had a meeting with the US Coast Guard after they came to look at our facilities to see our level of compliance. We have assigned a team to the US Coast Guard to work on the issues on ISPS Code compliance and we have communicated this to the terminal operators and they have also been very compliant

NPA’s Debt
On the N400million that is stock in Aso savings, we are exploring ways to see how we can get that money out. We have asked for proper details on the account opening so that we can pursue it. Obviously, our monies are also in the Heritage Bank. We still have indebtedness, we have been paid some monies but we still have about $1.8million still in Heritage bank. We are doing all that we can to have all the monies being owed NPA to be returned to the coffers of the government. I am sure that  most of you recall that when we took over office we realized that there were huge amount of monies that had not been kept in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) such as the one in Heritage Bank. We are not going to relent in the pursuit of these monies until they are eventually returned to us.

Information Technology
On the Command and Control Centre; it is an Information Technology platform that not just captures vessels that enters the nation’s territorial waters but it also highlights security concerns. We are working on how the Command on Control could be linked to also capture the revenue. We have to deploy whatever IT system we have to all our operations. We have to get value for money by ensuring that it is utilized optimally. Security has to be plugged in so that we can optimize the resources put into the Command and Control centre.

On Terminal Operators Lease
On our debts with terminal operators, we are working assiduously to ensure that we get these monies back. We also have tenancy payments that have accrued for years. The Nigerian Ports Authority has continued billing for the lease of land. There are instances where NPA has leased landed properties but the benefactors have been unable to access these properties and NPA has to continue paying them as debt. This is because of some fundamental on the lease agreement, the leasee has to take occupation. You cannot lease a land that is encumbered by encroachment or topographical challenges. So we are going to remove the amount of money that NPA is  owed by the lease beneficiary because some of them cannot be regarded as valid lease as the people have not been able to lay acquisition of the properties.

Bad Debts
We also have instances where entities owe NPA and they closed-up. These are some unfortunate situations we find ourselves. However, we want to reclaim our debts on lease and tenancy. We are doing a comprehensive report on this and we would like to have a proper structure for public-private partnerships.  We are aware that some of the concerns on the deployment of vessels have to do with how effective NPA can be in procuring and maintaining these vessels. The PPP arrangement should be able to take care of all these challenges and also an appropriate payment that doesn’t short-change the Federal Government.

On 2017 Budget
On our 2017 budget; we are concluding on that. We have presented it to Senate and as soon as it is approved, it would be posted and published so that the world know about it. We are increasing the percentage of our capital projects from what was obtained in 2015. We have defined modalities for improvement of physical infrastructure. We are aware of the low rating of Nigeria in the world rating of nations on the ease of doing business and although there are many factors that led to such poor rating, the NPA is working in sync with the Presidential Committee on the ‘ease of dong business’ to ensure that we reduce the turnaround time of vessels and enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

We understand that this is a very huge investment opportunity with massive employment generation possibilities but for us to have compliance in Nigeria on dry-docking, we have to guarantee effective and efficient management of the dockyard. Hence, we are looking at PPP arrangement on the management of the dockyard.

Conflict With Intels
On our existing contracts with Intels; as I mentioned when I visited Onne, we are going to emphasize compliance on the payment into the coffers of the government. We have put in place a Standard Operating Procedure which we have communicated to Intels. No agency would stand in the way by stopping the NPA from adhering to the TSA policy which is in compliance to the constitution of the nation. We have given Intels sufficient timelines whereby they should report to us to ensure that we collect the revenue accruable to the government. If Intels fails to respond to us then we are going to take all necessary actions to ensure compliance to what has been stipulated as a Federal Government directive on the TSA policy.

Updates On Port Access Roads
We have given timelines to the government agencies on one hand and we have concluded discussions with Dangote Flour Mills on the deployment and fixing of the Wharf road, Apapa taking into consideration the need to provide for drainage. We have also discussed with the Federal Government and gotten ‘Creek Road’ and two other roads in Apapa into the nation’s budget on roads under the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. The Minister confirmed this in his presentation on his 2017 budget. In addition, we advocated for the need to provide Truck Holding Bays and Trailer garages and the Ministry of Works has also confirmed that the Truck Holding Bay around the Tin Can axis has also been commissioned and it would lead to the reduction in trailers that are plying that road. We are also working to ensure that a trailer is only found on the ports access roads when it is verified to be on its way to pick up a cargo. Establishing Truck Holding Bays and Trailer garages is paramount to keeping the port environs free of congestion.

Ports Masterplan
The Federal Government has decided to have a plan on the developments of deep seaports because there would be challenges such as environmental challenges and competition that would arise when we have so many deep seaports in a particular location and there is also a national ports masterplan document.
One of the things we are going to be looking at as we review the port concession agreement is to look at the facilities and compare with the development plans contained in the concession agreements. This also applies to the Authority which has the responsibility to provide for certain infrastructure that is required and we have ensured that the deployment of certain infrastructure in contained to a large extent in our 2017 budget.

Challenges At Lilipond Terminal
We have AP Mollar as the concessionaires of the Lilipond terminal and their concession agreement expires in 2017. So, as the agreement expires we need to mitigate what happened during the concession having seen the challenges within the port concession period. These would form the basis of the new concession process that we would embark upon.

Check Also

How We Are Rebuilding CRFFN For Greater Impact- Uromta, Ag.CEO

Mrs Chinyere Uromta, Acting Registrar/CEO, CRFFN Providence was at work in February 1,2023 when the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× Get News Alert