Hadiza: I didn’t breach NPA rules, exempt Dangote from statutory charges

Managing of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA Hadiza Bala Usman has debunked reports that she breached the Authority’s rules.She has also denied exempting Dangote Groups of companies from statutory charges.

While reacting to the torrent of stories and opinion pieces of late, she said, “I wish to with all emphasis that these accusations are false and mischievous.”

Read Hadiza’s reaction below:

My attention has been drawn to media reports suggesting that the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority under my leadership breached NPA rules and exempted the Dangote Groups of companies from paying certain statutory charges at the Onne Ports, River . I wish to with all emphasis that these accusations are false and mischievous.

Even the letter dated February 5, 2019(published in the media report),communicating the Authority’s  decision on this subject to the management of Intels Limited states in the last paragraph: “Hence, the Authority therefore directs that all cargoes of Messers Dangote Industries Limited and INDEED ALL IMPORTERS DIRECTED TO ONNE PORTS for customs clearance, specifically for these projects, and are multi-purpose in nature to be treated by applying the same operational rates used by other multi-purpose terminals.”  This paragraph is explicit about the fact that all multi-purpose cargoes diverted to Onne were expected to benefit from this directive.

Background to the directive

  • Until 2018 when the Authority wrote when the Government approved the decategorisation of Onne Ports as the solely designated oil and gas terminal in , only oil and gas cargoes called at the ports, contrary to global practices in the maritime industry.
  • For reasons, which included national security, ease of doing business as well as the need for to embrace international best practices, this oil and gas monopoly removed in 2018, with the effect that all categories of cargoes call at the Onne Ports. This means that importers choose and have their cargoes delivered at any of our port locations regardless of what their consignments were.
  • With that decision, it followed that tariffs must be reviewed to reflect the specific category of cargo imported as opposed to the rates that existed when the Onne Ports received only oil and gas cargoes.
  • This reality got more urgent when the congestion at the two ports in Lagos became worsened by uncleared cargoes meant for construction at the Petrochemicals Refining Gas and Fertilizer project of the Dangote Groups at the Lekki Free Trade Zone. At a point, the company wrote to inform the Authority that it expecting 60,000 containers and 1,000,000( million metric tonnes) Break Bulk cargo. If these were allowed to proceed to Lagos, it would have turned into an emergency.
  • To avert this situation and the ports in Lagos respite, the Authority advised Dangote and other importers to utilise the Onne Ports, which has then been decategorized from an exclusive oil and gas facility.
  • Let me reiterate that this decision, alongside every other taken by the Executive Management Team under my leadership in the best interest of Nigeria. We also considered ease of doing business for people who transact business at our ports. I consider it  unfortunate that anyone would attempt to on the intelligence of Nigerians by twisting the facts especially when they are harmed with the “leaked letter.