*Seeks govt clearance to restore contract
09 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — An online news platform in Nigeria, Premium Times has reported that the business dispute between the Nigerian Ports Authority and Intels Nigeria Limited over revenue sharing structure and payment procedure in the boat pilotage contract now stands resolved.
The report said the NPA is, however, awaiting clearance from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for possible restoration of the contract.
Intels and NPA had been locked in a fierce business face-off, resulting in several tension-soaked meetings and exchange of aggressive correspondences.
This was the fallout of the company’s non-compliance with the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account policy.
The NPA had insisted that service boat revenues collected on its behalf by Intels be first swept into its account at the Central Bank of Nigeria before they are shared by both parties.
But Intels disagreed, saying complying with the policy would have adverse effects on its finances and agreements with its bankers.
On October 5, based on a legal advise from the Attorney-General, the NPA terminated the multi-billion naira service boats contract it awarded to Intels several years ago.
However, in a November 10 letter, the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, told theAttorney-General Malami that the dispute between the two parties had now been resolved.
That was after Intels formally wrote the NPA, apologising for its initial rejection of the regulator’s directive on TSA and then stating its readiness to comply.
In the letter, Mrs. Bala-Usman said Intels “has now tendered its unreserved apology and undertakes to totally comply with Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federal Government.”
She continued: “The Company has further stated its readiness to execute the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which was drawn by the Authority to bring implementation of Service Boats Agreement in line with extant regulation and Government directives.”
“Sir, the crux of the disagreement between the Authority and Messrs INTELS Nigeria Limited relates to the compliance with TSA policy of the Federal Government, which by the letter from the company is now resolved. There is currently no dispute between the parties on the basis of Service Boats Agreement.”
Since the NPA relied on Mr. Malami’s legal advisory to terminate the contract, Mrs. Bala-Usman is now requesting the Attorney-General’s clearance to reinstate the contract.
“May I, therefore, seek your legal guidance on the above to enable me to respond to the request of Messrs. Intels Nigeria Limited accordingly,” Mrs. Bala-Usman told the Attorney-General.
In its apology, dated October 25, Intels, through one of its directors, Silvano Bellinato, suggested that an agreement that will ensure ‘mutual business satisfaction’ be signed between the company and NPA.
Mr. Bellinato also sought assurances that Intels’ share of collected revenues would always be remitted to it in good time after the TSA account with the CBN is credited.
Our sources said the NPA was still awaiting Mr. Malami’s response to its latest correspondence on possible restoration of the contract.
Intels too is keeping its fingers crossed as the Attorney-General’s legal opinion is key to the restoration of the revenue collection contract or otherwise.