By Godwin Oritse
THE 2016 unaudited accounts of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is currently stalling the release of the 7.0 percent surcharge paid on imports for the development of the ports.
Disclosing this in Lagos, the Managing Director of the authority, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, said that the account of the agency was last audited in 2015 adding that the 2016 audit was yet to be done.
Usman who was responding to queries on the port issues by protesting customs agents and truckers in Lagos, said that access to the fund was tied to the updated audit of the account of the authority.
Noting that on resumption of duties at the NPA, she discovered that the accounts of the ports authority has not been audited for three years, Usman said she has ordered an immediate audit of the outstanding accounts from 2014. The surcharge for port development is domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with balances said to be in several billions of Naira over a period of about ten years.
Speaking on the development, the National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr. Kayode Farinto, queried: “How can we have so much money stashed away somewhere and ports are in such a pathetic state?” On the collection of Wharf landing fees, Farinto said the collection of the fees was a fraud being committed by Lagos State Government, stressing, “I was the first to take Lagos State government to court over the collection, maritime business is exclusively Federal Government affairs.”