Business

Not backing down, NPA issues 2-week ultimatum to Intels to remit $48m debt

Heritage bank fears it will collapse if it remits NPA’s $21.3m with it, MD tells Reps

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has given Intels Nigeria limited (Intels) a two-week ultimatum to remit an outstanding $48 million that it insists the company ought to have paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in 2017.

Speaking during an interview with CNBC Africa, Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of the agency, said Intels’ notice of termination remained active until the company settled its debt.

“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possible two-week window to provide payment, two weeks from now, following which the notice of termination will not be withdrawn.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 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 said.

Speaking further on what caused the disagreement between the maritime agency and the logistics firm, Usman accused the company of failing to comply with ground rules.

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“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 that 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, Abubakar Malami, Attorney-Genral of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, asked the NPA to void the boats’ pilotage agreement it had with Intels.

Malami said the agreement, which has 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 why the management of the NPA and Intels did not take cognizance of the relevant provisions when negotiating the agreement in 2010.

Intels, a logistics and facilities services provider in the maritime and oil and gas sectors, was co-founded by Gabriele Volpi, an Italian national, and Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president.

In 2015, Atiku had described Intels, Nigeria’s biggest oil and gas logistics company, as his most successful business.

 

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