The Ministry of Transportation has said the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) under its now suspended Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman between N50bn and N60bn annually on contracts for which it could purchase machinery and build in-house capacity for greater long-term benefits.
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Magdalene Ajani, said this a statement on Tuesday, while giving fresh evidence for investigating activities of the NPA under Ms. Usman.
Ajani said the NPA was wasteful and awarded contracts even in areas it had in-house capability to handle, especially the channel dredging.
“The NPA was engaged in obvious profligacy and wastage of public funds to be spending over N50bn on an annual basis on contracts for which it could purchase machinery and build in-house capacity for greater long-term benefits,” the statement said.
According to Ajani, the expiration of previous contracts, the ministry had written to Usman to provide specifics on the success of the co tracts before awarding another but she declined to respond, in flagrant abuse of due process.
“The channel management contracts have been routinely awarded over the years by the Nigerian Ports Authority at a cost of between N50bn and N60bn on an annual basis. The Honourable Minister has adopted a firm position that the NPA should undertake the job of channel management on an in-house basis through the acquisition of the necessary machinery and professional capacity given the humongous annual sums paid out to dredging Contractors by the Authority,” Ajani said.
“Following the expiration of the Channel Management contracts for the Lagos, Bonny and Port-Harcourt Channels in 2020 and the initiation of the contractual process for the renewal of the said contracts early in 2021, the HMT on 22nd January, 2021, while responding to a request for the NPA to provide requisite details related to the proposed transactions directed in the following words:
“There is the need for NPA to know that NPA should purchase their own equipment and not award any contract.”