Termination Of INTELS Contract Won’t Lead To Job Losses—NPA MD

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Hadiza Bala Usman, has assured that the termination of boats pilotage monitoring and supervision contract with Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) will not lead to loss of jobs.She gave the assurances in Lagos on Monday at a parley with journalists. The NPA Chief Executive watered down the anxiety that was earlier raised by Intels that terminating its contract would lead to loss of jobs. Its managing director; Bala Usman explained that will engage a new company to take over from Intels and the new company would have to engaged Nigerians, especially those who are already skilled in what they do.She said, “how will the termination of the contract lead to job losses? Any company that takes over from INTELS will employ the workers to do the job”.The NPA boss confirmed that the new contractors would take over the provision of the boats pilotage monitoring and supervision services that were being provided by Intels, adding that NPA management would proceed on a transitional arrangement to engage another firm.Giving an update on NPA’s frosty relationship with Intels, she told journalists that since Intels served the Authority with a seven-day ultimatum following the termination of its contract, there would be a transparent process to get another contractor on board to handle the services.“We have responded to their letter because they gave us an ultimatum and we have reiterated that we stand by the advice of the AGF. We will follow a transparent process to ensure that the services being handled by Intels is handed over to another contractor,” she said.Usman said that she had raised letters and held several meetings with INTELS management to comply with the Federal Government’s directive on the Treasury Single Account (TSA) since she assumed office 15 months ago.“This discussion with Intels on the need to comply with the TSA started about 15 months ago, from June 2016 to date. Letters had been written, meetings held for Intels to comply, but Intels had continuously refused to comply.“They refused to make payments to the NPA account. They maintained that payments for pilotage services must come to their coffers. While it is stated in the constitution that all revenues due to the Federal Government should go to the consolidated revenue account of the FG, Intels want to collect monies, deduct what they want and give government the balance. But that is not how it works. That structure cannot sustain government’s implementation of the TSA,” the NPA MD said. “They (INTELS) maintained their stand not to make payment to NPA. They want to deduct 28 per cent commission and other costs.“NPA says a TSA account has been opened and that at the end of the month, there will be reconciliation of accounts but INTELS refused.“Will I spend 15 months talking to a company to comply with the constitution of the country?” she asked.Usman explained that all further attempts by the NPA to get the company obey the payment directive was met with various excuses.She also cleared the air about the establishment of truck holding bays and trailer garages. She said: “The NPA will not be constructing any holding bays or trailer garage, rather it will only be granting licensing for operators of holding bays to use a call-up system with the NPA.“So, we are calling on private sector to develop holding bays and trailer garages, and obtain their license from us to enable the trucks that are parked on the road to have access of the location.”She, however, lamented the refusal of a company which indicated interest in the development of a holding bay, to give a detailed outline business plan as requirement for ICRC to give any form of approval for a Public Private Partnership (PPP).She addressed the issue of the port access roads construction, saying that the interest of the NPA as she had expressed to the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Raji Fashola, is for immediate attention to be given to all access roads leading to all the ports, and not just those of Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos.According to her, Fashola also expressed interest in reconstructing the ports’ access roads, but cited the need for budgetary processing as cause of delays.“The minister said that he had made provisions for such requests, but that some of these have to go through budgetary processing. On that ground, it got to a stage where the NPA had to provide N1.8 billion funding for the construction of the Wharf Road because it was directly our concern,” she added.