06 May 2013, Lagos — The unprecedented blockade on Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, NLNG’s shipping activities by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, was lifted, Sunday.
The blockade which lasted 48 hours between midday Friday and yesterday morning, was lifted following the intervention of the ministers of Petroleum and Transport, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke and Senator Idris Umar respectively and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd)
NIMASA’s decision to lift the blockade, it was learnt, keyed into Federal Government’s determination not to further encumber one of the sterling examples of government’s success in public private partnership.
NIMASA had last Friday announced its decision to completely blockade shipping activities to and from the Bonny berths of the NLNG on account of what it claimed to be the continued refusal of the company to pay outstanding levies, taxes and fines over the years.
Sources revealed last night that senior officials of NIMASA, NLNG and the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS were locked in a meeting in Ikoyi, Lagos, last night towards finding a resolution to the problem.
As at press time it was learnt that though discussions had commenced, the government agencies and the NLNG were still far from reaching an agreement.
NLNG, it was learnt, was, however, under serious pressure from the authorities to sit down with the government agencies to find a lasting solution to the outstanding issues.
Announcing the unprecedented blockade, NIMASA had in a press statement issued by Captain Warredi Enisuoh, the Acting Director, Shipping Development, said:
“This course of action has been forced on the agency by the NLNG’s disregard and demonstrated unwillingness to abide by the country’s Maritime laws especially sections of the NIMASA Act that mandates payment of levies based on gross freight on exports and imports and the Cabotage Law. This ongoing blockade is limited to the NLNG vessels and other vessels lifting gas on its behalf.”
*Bartholomew Madukwe, Vanguard