Group accuses NPA of causing revenue leakages in maritime sector … Seeks FG’s intervention over situation

An organisation dedicated to promoting transparency in the maritime sector, Nigerians Against Theft in the Maritime Sector (NATIMS), has called on the Federal Government to beam its searchlight on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), alleging that the agency’s activities have caused revenue leakages in the maritime sector.

 The Federal Government’s intercession is being sought, according to NATIMS, because of “what looks like the complicity of NPA in the illegal berthing or direct reception of ocean-going ships/vessels at inappropriate terminals has become obvious thereby leading to conclusions that its actions translate into huge revenue loss to the Federal Government.”
NATIMS made its position known via a press statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Jonahs Bankole, and made available to newsmen in Lagos.

Bankole stated: “Two recent incidents where two ships, Antigua and Berbuda-flagged MV Drago J with 470 twenty-foot equivalent of containers and MV Torco Clairvaux, respectively, sneaked into Nigerdock facility at Snake Island Integrated Free Zone, Apapa on January 19, 2016, and Ladol facility on December 16th, 2015, leave much to be desired.

“We in NATIMS know that, going by the rules, NPA provides pilotage for any ship/vessel that enters Nigeria’s territorial waters and we wonder how the two ocean-going vessels berthed illegally at Nigderdock and Ladol facilities without NPA noticing them.
“If NPA provided pilotage for the two ships, then something is wrong somewhere and that is why NATIMS is calling on the Federal Government to look into the activities of the NPA. We do not know how many ships had berthed illegally in the past and how much revenue government has lost.”
Bankole said that NATIMS proposes to “send a petition to relevant committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, on how the activities of NPA have negatively impacted on the revenue base of the nation and how to reverse the situation.”
The NATIMS boss expressed hopes that, in the course of their respective oversight functions, the Committees on Marine Transport of the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly  “will address the issue of illegal berthing of ships/vessels as well as the danger of having government agencies that are no longer alive to their responsibilities in terms of revenue generation.”
NATIMS had kind words for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), commending the Service for “reading the riot act to its officers and men concerning illegal berthing of ships/vessels and mid-stream discharge of cargo as well as and the consequences of such actions.”

NATIMS was, however, quick in noting that that the effort of the NCS “would not yield maximum results if the NPA fails to pilot ships that arrive at the nation’s waters to the appropriate ports before they are cleared for their final destinations.”