Fuel scarcity looms as NNPC, NPA bicker over N5bn debt

The feud between Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over a N5 billion debt which the corporation is owing is likely to trigger off a nationwide fuel scarcity.

Findings showed that NNPC owes NPA over N6.7billion in port charges on vessels that berthed at jetties across the country.

It was also gathered that NPA is restraining berthing of ships contracted by NNPC due to its alleged refusal to pay the said sum.

Over 20 vessels laden with petroleum products are at anchorage in the country’s water, awaiting clearance from NPA to berth.

An impeccable NPA source disclosed that NNPC’s debt would have been higher but was reduced by a rebate of about 30 percent which the authority granted to the national oil company after a series of meetings.

One of the contracted shipping companies bringing in products said to be owned by a former national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is allegedly owing the NPA USD2million.

NPA’s Managing Director, Hadizat Bala Usman, had insisted that the authority would collect its payments in dollars as stated in the terms of agreement.

Owing to the high dollar rate, some shipping companies and terminal operators had insisted on making payment to NPA in naira at any exchange rate which is not certain owing to fluctuations in the foreign exchange markets.

Usman had told some terminal operators in Calabar that NPA will ensure maximum collection of all fees due to it while urging them to stick to the terms of agreement made government.

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