The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has asked the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) to reconcile its account with the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) which has a liability of N255 billion.
The NPA, according to the FRC, failed to submit its audited accounts for 2019 and 2020 and that the available account has a gross liability of N255 billion.
At the interactive session on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) on Thursday in Abuja, the Committee ruled that the NPA should reconcile its accounts with FRC within two weeks.
The NPA, according to the FRC, failed to submit its audited accounts for 2019 and 2020. And the available account has a gross liability of N255billion.
Head of Monitoring of the FRC, Bello Gulmare, told the Committee that the NPA had not been keeping to date with the submission of its audited accounts.
“The NPA has only submitted up to 2018 audited financial statement. We are yet to receive 2019 and 2020. Their liability is N255billion. Their general liability is N235billion. In our record, we have remittances of N179.6 billion, that gives rise to a net operating surplus of N255 billion.”
Emeka Ezengwu, who represented NPA, explained that the FRC had an outdated account, hence the N255billion liability.
“2019 has already been approved by the board, 2020 is ongoing. FRC has not done any reconciliation with the NPA for the past four years.
“The figure he is brandishing does not align with what we have. We have done reconciliation with Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission . We are also engaging the Accountant General (of the Federation) office right now and we have a letter from them inviting us for reconciliation,” Mr Ezengwu said.
Reacting to the statement, Mr Faleke said the commission is the body statutory empowered by the constitution to monitor remittances.
“By law, when it comes to remittances, this office (FRC) is superior to the Accountant General Office. This is a constitutional office—it is not just created by an act of the National Assembly.
“It is important that you reconcile with the FRC—you should be eager to reconcile with them. If their report is laid before the National Assembly, and you are found wanting, it has consequences. So, reconcile within two weeks.
“We have ruled that we need a comprehensive list of all agreements reached by NPA with its tenants, indicating how much each of those tenants are supposed to be paying on a monthly or annual basis and copies of the agreements be attached.
“We need all the account details of the JVC accounts.”
Unambitious revenue target
The committee also frowned at the revenue targets given to the NPA.
Saidu Abdullahi, the deputy chairman of the committee, said the NPA should be given more ambitious revenue targets.
Mr Ezengwu had announced that the 2021 target was N301.7 billion.
He noted that “as of June 2021 we have attained N163.5 billion. That should be 54% performance. We are on course to meeting the estimate.
“In 2018, we had N284.36billion, followed by N280.3 billion in 2019 and in 2020 we had N303.58 billion,” he said.
Mr Abdullahi said with new projects by the government, particularly the Lekki Seaport, the NPA should be able to generate more revenue.
The committee also queried how the NPA arrived at the revenue projections.
“I am seeing a situation that if they should go by year in, at the rate at which they are going, we expect a performance of about N320billion.
“We are not challenging the NPA in terms of the target, we are giving…..it is not too ambitious the target we are giving them— putting them at comfort zone wherein we are not able to get the best out of them.
“There is a need to seriously look at these projections. Given that you have operational activities and projects that are coming up, I think we will increase the projection,” he said.
In his response, Mr Ezengwu said the calculation was based on a statistical analysis of trends in the sector.
“We use statistics to analyse the trend and to be able to look at the next three years, ” he said.
“The second one is the ship, the length of the vessel and the gross registered tonnage—we also look at the indices of the last five years to determine what to expect in the next four years.
“For admin, there are mainly based on agreement. About 80 per cent leases are based on agreements. The indices we use for these projections give us those figures.
“We are assuring you that the figures you are seeing are actually the best fit we can give in the medium term.”
Mr Ezengwu said the NPA was reviewing the concessionary agreements.
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