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Published On: Tue, Aug 29th, 2017

NPA Scandal: How N111trillion was lost to joint partners

Funso Olojo| 

 The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is profusely bleeding from the financial wounds inflicted on it by the vicious but serial looting of its treasury by its joint ventures partners.

 Ironically, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative which was evolved by the Federal government to fund some of its statutory infrastructural obligations to the sector through Joint Venture arrangement with private business interests has apaparently become a drain pipe for NPA.

In 2005 and in line with this PPP arrangement, the NPA formed two joint venture companies with some business interests to carry out both capital and maintenance dredging of the port channels in Lagos and Eastern ports axis which include the Bonny Channel Company Limited established and incorporated in August, 2005 with 60 per cent equity shareholding by the NPA and 40 per cent equity shareholding by the consortium, (TCMC) The Channel Management Company Limited.

The shareholding structure of BCC provides for the appointment of three NPA Directors as members of BCC Board and two Directors from the Joint venture partners.  

 Also, Lagos Channel Management Company manages the Lagos Pilotage District. It was incorporated in August, 2005 by NPA with an equity shareholding of 60 per cent and 40 per cent equity to the Joint Venture partner, Depasa Marine International.

The Company’s Board of Directors is made up of three Directors from the NPA and two Directors from the Depasa Marine International.

The third JVC and the most controversial is the Calabar Channel Management Company Limited which was established in 2014 between Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited with the NPA for Management Contract on Dredging of Calabar Channel.

The NPA holds 60 per cent equity share participation while the Consortium led by Messrs Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited holds the balance 40 per cent shareholdings.

Their responsibilities include Plan, Manage, Execute Maintenance and Capital Dredging works along the assigned channels, removal of wrecks along the channel ,maintenance of aids to navigation, management training of NPA officials in line with dredging operations and visual pollution monitoring and bathymetric survey of channel.

However, with the active connivance of past NPA top officials, the three JV companies have allegedly fleeced the agency of an estimated sum of $3billion (N111trillion) since 2005 while the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) and  Bonny Channel Management (BCM) were still asking for additional N23 billion and N20 billion respectively in NPA’s 2017 budget, the Calabar Channel Management(CCM) whose contract with the NPA was worth N26billion, was said to had submitted invoices for the fourth quarter 2014 and first quarter 2015, totalling $34.56 million which government paid $12.5 million before further payment was suspended.

The company was still pressuring the NPA for the payment of the balance sum.

 Stakeholders have all along questioned the propriety of the huge sum of money being paid to these companies annually without commensurate service delivery.

They observed that since the agreement to increase the depth of the ports channels across the country, not much was achieved as most of these channels could still not accommodate bigger vessels that require at least 13 metres draught.

 They insisted that apart from Lagos pilotage District which has attained a minimal depth of 12 to 13 metres, other ports in the Eastern and Calabar pilotage District are below 12 metre depth.

Yet, the JV companies have supposedly being carrying out both capital and maintenance dredging on these channels at great cost to the Country.

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