Accusing fingers are pointing to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as constituting the biggest revenue leakage in the maritime industry with so much money passing through it and without direct visible impact on the economy.
The finger pointing followed the story written penultimate Friday by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY with the headline: NIMASA Collects N285.8bn from cargo charges in 7 years.
Stakeholders who called in told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that the quantity of money that NIMASA collects only from cargo charges is amazing wondering how these monies are spent.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the report in SHIPS & PORTS,” said one of the stakeholders who pleaded anonymity.
“You mean a single agency receives such an amount of money as just part of the overall money that it collects monthly? This is intriguing and yet majority of Nigerians are suffering. It is a case of water everywhere and yet there is no water,” he declared.
He also said that the way the revenue almost doubled in 2015 showed that somebody tried to “play a fast one especially when it was obvious that former President Jonathan was losing the presidential elections and the stern looking Muhammed Buhari was going to take over; so they quickly arranged to put more money in government coffers to avoid conviction by anti-corruption agencies.”
Some of those who responded to the story said that proper searchlight should be put on the agency and meticulous auditing done to see whether this money was actually properly utilised, frittered away or cornered by a few individuals.
While this story raised a lot of dust among stakeholders, it may be proper to say that no court of law has publicly declared NIMASA as conduit pipe for financial leakages although some of its past Director-Generals have been taken to court for financial recklessness.
The story that unsettled many readers was that NIMASA collected a total sum of $1.34 billion (about N215 billion at prevailing rate of N160 per dollar) from its statutory three per cent charges on international inbound and outbound dry and wet cargoes between 2009 and 2014, as well as N70.8 billion in 2015 making a total of N285.8 billion for the six years.
A revenue generation document obtained by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY showed that the agency generated $1.77 billion between 2009 and 2014, but was able to collect $1.34 billion within the period.
While the document captures the agency’s revenue analysis for the periods from January 2009 to June 2015, NIMASA’s immediate past Director-General, Haruna Baba Jauro had told the Senate Committee on Marine Transport who was on oversight visit to the agency that the maritime regulator collected N70.8 billion in 2014. He also said the agency collected N207 million from Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) between June 2013.
The agency’s revenues saw an increase in 2013 when it made Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, NLNG to begin payment of the three per cent statutory levy after over 20 years of non-payment. Its revenue collections moved up from $226.6 million in 2012 to $242.3 million in 2013 and $288.1 million in 2014, but the agency remitted its earnings in naira.
Between 2009 and 2011, the agency’s earnings were comparably low at $172.5 million, $199.9 million and $214.8 million respectively.
Further breakdown of NIMASA’s revenue generation showed that the agency collected more revenue from dry cargoes, comprising imported and exported goods other than oil and other liquids. It raked in $104.2 million from dry cargoes and $68.3 million from wet cargoes in 2009. For 2010 the revenue figure stood at $111.2 million and $88.6 million for dry and wet cargoes respectively.
In 2011, the agency’s revenue improved to $118.2 million for dry cargoes and $96.5 million for wet cargoes. The agency raked in $121.8 million from dry cargoes and $104.7 million from wet cargoes in 2012 and $132.1 million and $110.1 million from dry and wet cargoes respectively in 2013.
The apex maritime regulator’s earnings continued its steady rise in 2014, with revenue from wet cargoes leading, garnering $139.3 million from dry cargoes and $148.8 million from wet cargoes, showing a total of $288.1 million for 2014 (about N46 billion at prevalent rate of N160 per dollar). With the N70.8 billion earnings in 2015, the agency’s revenue appeared to have almost doubled in just one year.
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