A whopping sum of $3 billion is the total sum of money unremitted to Nigeria Maritime administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) by some government agencies in the last eight years.
According to revelations made before the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, on Wednesday, the defaulting government agencies were the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, (PPMC).
The Chairman of the committee, Hon Mohammed Bago, disclosed this during a one-day investigative hearing on the revenue leakages and operational deficiencies in NIMASA and said the debts were defaults from freight charges.
Bago also hinted that the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, (NAPIMS) – a subsidiary of the NNPC – was owing NIMASA about $780 million in freight charges.
It would be recalled that on March 9, 2016, the House mandated the committee to probe the alleged revenue leakages and deficiencies in NIMASA amounting to about $10 billion and report to it within six weeks for further legislative action.
Giving further insight, the sponsor of the motion, Hon Jones Onyereri, noted that from 2008 to 2015, about $10billion had been lost to unpaid freight charges by government agencies.
Onyereri estimated that Nigeria loses about N2trillion annually on freight charges, lamenting that the ineffectiveness of NIMASA in its core mandate had resulted in huge revenue loss.
In his presentation, the Minister of Transport, Hon Rotimi Amaechi, said that the federal government was disturbed with the unwholesome activities in NIMASA.
Amaechi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Zakari Sabiu, told the Committee that a new Director-General had been appointed with a clear mandate to sanitise the agency and block all renenue leakages.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Hon Dakuku Peterside, admitted that the agency was being owed a huge debt spanning January 2010 to December 2015.
He said that under the current administration, they had put measures to block all leakages.