NPA denies withholding N177bn operating surplus 

Hadiza Bala Usman

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has disputed claims by Senators that it had refused to remit an operating surplus of N177 billion it recorded in 2017 into the Federation account. 

On Wednesday, a member of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Mohammed Hassan, had drawn the attention of the upper legislative chamber to the allegation through a motion moved in accordance with senate standing orders 42 and 52.

According to Hassan, the committee discovered that the agency, in its budget defence of the performance of the 2017 budget in April, generated N303 billion as revenue out of which it spent N125 billion. He claimed that NPA, however, refused to remit the balance of N177 billion realised as surplus to the federation account.

Senate President Bukola Saraki asked the committee to look into the allegation and report back within three days.

But reacting in a statement on Thursday, NPA said while it raked in a total of N303.9 billion in revenue, its total expenditure was N205.8 billion as against Hassan’s N125 billion claim.

It explained that out of the balance of N98.1 billion, N60.12 billion represents uncollectable revenue from concessionaires, while it paid N30.4 billion into the federation account.

The NPA statement reads: “The attention of the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority has been drawn to newspaper reports alleging that the authority has failed to remit the sum of N177 billion operating surplus from its 2017 revenue to the Consolidated Federation Account (CRA).

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“The allegation, according to the reports, emanated from discussions that followed a motion at the plenary of the Senate on Wednesday, November 28, 2018.

“With due respect to our distinguished Senator, the authority wishes to state that this allegation is without foundation. The fact of the situation are as follows:

“Total revenue generated by the authority in the Year 2017 stood at N303.9 billion. Total expenditure (inclusive of recurrent and capital) amounted to N205.8 billion.

“Of the N303.9 billion generated revenue, the sum of N60.12 billion represents uncollectable revenue from concessionaires attributed to clauses in the concession agreements, which the authority is currently reviewing.

“Consequently, the operating surplus for the authority in 2017 was the sum of N38 billion. Therefore, the sum of N30.4 billion, which represents 80% of the operating surplus that the authority is required to remit to the CRA in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 has been duly paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) by the authority with receipt of payment already issued by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

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“These computations arise from the authority’s management account pending the conclusion of the audit of the 2017 financial statement, which is ongoing.

“It is pertinent to also note that the authority has already remitted the sum of N11.3 billion for 2018 CRF contribution into the Consolidated Revenue Fund with the use of authority’s management account ahead of auditing for 2018.

“The authority wishes to state its readiness to present all documents needed to provide clarification to the Senate Committee on Marine Transport and the Senate.

“On a final note, while we appreciate the constitutional oversight role of distinguished Senators on the operations of the NPA, we suggest greater restraint on issues that deal with the integrity of national institutions even as we assure of our respect for the Senate.”