Reps Ask Ports Authority To Reinstate Intels' Contract

Reps Ask Ports Authority To Reinstate Intels' Contract”

The House of Representatives has called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to reinstate the contract of Intels Nigeria Limited.

The House, while adopting a motion by Rep Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa), resolved to constitute an ad hoc panel to probe the circumstances that led to NPA's decision to terminate an existing contract between it and Intels.

Also in support of the motion, Ekpo Attah (Akwa-Ibom-PDP) said the motion is important and "status quo" should be maintained.

The committee is to ascertain if due process was followed in the termination of the agreement and other related matters.

Under the Boats Pilotage Monitoring and Supervision Agreement, Intels, a firm where former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar controls a majority stake, is in charge of collecting revenue on behalf of the NPA.

"We should not scare away investors by the kind of decisions we take, that is not to say that companies must not submit themselves to authorities and government".

Rita Orji (Lagos-APC) also concurred with Mr. Agunsoye.

The motion was adopted by the house after Yakubu Dogara, the speaker, put the motion to a voice vote.

"Intels as we see today is not even owned by Nigerians".

"Most of these employees are Nigerians with families and responsibilities". We are therefore, anxious that if this issue is not resolved amicably, their jobs could be on the line.

"While the government is doing everything in its powers to create jobs, it should not, on the other hand, throw people out of job", he stated.

Some of the employees who spoke to The Guardian, expressed disappointment that the government was cancelling a contract it willingly signed years back when the contract duration had not elapsed.

Another employee, who identified herself simply as Chichi, said the assurance given by the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, was not enough guarantee for the security of jobs. You will begin to hear different stories by the time we get to that point and that is why the labour union has always resisted this transition thing.

The NPA boss told newsmen on Monday in Lagos that the contract was terminated on the advice of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami.

He explained that before Intels got the contract, NPA was making a paltry sum of $6.5million annually, after Intels took it over, it made over $200million in its first year adding that in another year, it made $210million.

While debating the motion, members observed that the reason cited by the AGF was that the contract was "illegal" abinitio, and ran contrary to the Treasury Single Account policy of the Federal Government.

According to her, the legal advice was contained in an AGF's letter dated September 27, 2017, which was a response to NPA's May 31, 2017 letter in which it sought clarity on the matter.

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