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Trouble for Atiku as NPA moves against ex-vice president's golden goose

Trouble for Atiku as NPA moves against ex-vice president's golden goose

- The NPA and Intels are at each other's neck over business

- NPA's rift with intels is over the funding of a key capital project the logistics company is handling

- The federal government's Treasury Single Account policy has been fingered as the cause of the friction

The Nigerian Ports Authority and and Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited (Intels), Nigeria's leading logistic firm for the oil and gas industry, are locked in a fierce business dispute.

According to Premium Times, NPA is threatening to terminate Intels' port revenue collection contract.

Sources reveal that the dispute, which has seen the two parties hold several tension-soaked meetings and exchange aggressive correspondences, arose from Intels' alleged non-compliance with the federal government's Treasury Single Account policy.

The two parties also appear to disagree over the funding of a key capital project the logistics company is handling for the NPA.

Intels was co-founded by former vice-president and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar; and an Italian businessman, Gabriel Volpi, in the 1980s.

TSA duel and the revenue sharing

On March 15, the managing director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, wrote to Intels asking it to comply with government's TSA policy, which demands that service boat revenues collected through commercial banks must immediately be swept into the relevant account in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Ms Bala-Usman had proposed a new arrangement for sharing the revenue stream.

The company will receive 28 percent as agency commission from boats service revenues, while the remainder will be shared on a 30:70 percent ratio in favour of government and the company respectively.

The TSA was introduced by government to enthrone centralized and transparent management of all government revenues and plug leakages.

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Trouble for Atkiu as NPA moves against ex-vice president's golden goose

A sharing formula between NPA and Atiku's intels, is stirring a huge business rift

Some analysts have criticised the policy saying the nation's financial sector is under severe stress as the TSA policy starves commercial banks of cash.

But in its March 27 response, Intels, though, accepted the new sharing arrangement, it, however, said it was unable to comply with the TSA policy because it had loan commitments with some commercial banks.

"We still have an issue with the making of payments to a financial institution with complete sweep of funds to the TSA account," the company said.

The company said it used its books as collateral for the loans and that compliance is only possible if creditor banks continued to collect and hold revenue on its behalf.

"As you will understand, this (total compliance with TSA) will be unacceptable to the banks," said the company, in its letter signed by the chief executive of the company, Andrew Dawes, to Ms. Bala-Usman.

According to the company, both parties have subsisting agreement which also involves third parties.

The third parties, including banks, came into business based on "approved understanding" that part of the collections would be used to service Intels' commitments to them, the company said.

The NPA's TSA requirement, according to the company, meant "all funds", including what is due to it and third parties, will go to the TSA first and, afterwards, the parties will be paid their entitlements from the CBN.

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"But we can marry the two; keep the agreement and still comply with the TSA policy which should be for only money due to the NPA, indirectly the government," said the company.

However, in another letter to the company on April 19, the NPA told Intels the government's policy on TSA is "sacrosanct and must be complied with".

The ports regulator said it had even displayed magnanimity by allowing the collection of boats service revenue using two commercial banks even in the face of the TSA policy.

It said the arrangement was to allow a window for both parties to track transactions before they are subsequently swept into TSA accounts in the CBN.

In the NAIJ.com video below, the transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi gives a summary of what is going in President Buhari's administration.

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