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We Remitted N159bn Into Govt Coffers Under My Watch, Says Embattled NPA MD

Ebuka Daniel

Between 2017 and 2020, the Nigeria Ports Authority under the leadership of the suspended Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Hadiza Bala Usman remitted the sum of N159.11bn into the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account of the Federal Government.

The remittances were confirmed by Usman in a letter to the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari dated May 5, 2021.

The letter referenced MD/27/MF/VOL. XX/541 was titled: “Re: Request for the record of remittance of operating surpluses to the consolidated revenue funds account, CFR by the NPA.”

While her letter was dated May 5, 2021, the announcement suspending her from office by the Presidency was made on May 6, 2021.

Giving a breakdown of the N159.11bn that was remitted, the embattled MD said the Authority paid N42.415bn into government coffers in 2017, N33.969bn in 2018, N31.683bn in 2019 and N51.049bn in the 2020 fiscal period.

She further noted in the letter that the remittances for 2019 and 2020 were tentative as they were based on the completed 2019 audit of the agency’s financial statement which was awaiting the consideration of the NPA board.

She stated that it is at the point of the board’s approval that the final figures for the 2019 operating surplus will be determined  for consequent computation of the amount due for remittance to the CRF.

She explained that the 2017 and 2018 NPA audited financial statements provided operating surpluses of N76.782bn and N71.480bn respectively contrary to the sums of N133.084bn and N88.79bn being speculated.

Usman stated that in line with the template issued by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission,  the accessible operating surplus of the Authority stood at N51.09bn and N42.51bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively. 

According to her, “These amounts will give rise to a remittance due to the CRF in the sum of N40.873bn and N34.065bn representing 80 percent of the surpluses for the years 2017 and 2018.

“Accordingly,  the Authority consequently made a remittance of N42.415bn and N33.969bn for the years 2017 and 2018 respectively for the full amount required as remittance for the period.

“But thus far,  the Authority has made a remittance of N31.683bn for the 2019 remittance while the sum of N51.049bn has also thus far been remitted for 2020 while awaiting the audited financial statement to determine the final amount required for both 2019 and 2020 at which point the Authority will make the payment of the balance as required.”

The suspended NPA Boss alluded to the letter conveying the President’s approval for the Ministry of Transport to conduct an audit of the accounts of the NPA and its remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, adding that the figures provided by the Budget Office of the Federation as the operating surplus for the respective years on which  basis they arrived at the shortfall was flawed.

She said the figures are derived from submission of budgetary provision and not the actual amounts derived following the statutory audit of the Authority’s financial statements.

According to her  “This arose from a correspondence between the Budget Office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Transportation where the Budget Office of the Federation conveyed to the FMoT an observed shortfall of the Authority’s remittances to the CRF.

“We wish to state that the Authority’s basis for arriving at the operating surplus in which basis the amount due for remittance to the CRF’s guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as amended and further based on the statutory mandate Oart 1, S. 3(1) (b) & (d) whereby the Fiscal Responsibility Commission issued a template fir the computation of operating surplus for the purpose of calculating amount due for remittance  to the CRF.

“Accordingly,  the figures so provided by the Budget Office of the Federation as the operating surplus for the respective years on which  basis they arrived at the shortfall are derived from submission of budgetary provision not the actual amounts derived following the statutory audit if the Authority’s financial statements.”

Furthermore, she clarified in the letter that the Authority’s computation of its remittances to the CRF are concluded arising from numbers from audited financial statements using the template forwarded to the Authority by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission.

She requested the Chief of Staff to ask the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation who is the statutory custodian of status of payment to the CRF to provide clarifications on the remittance so as to establish the true position of the Authority’s remittances to the CRF.

Usman was suspended on Thursday as part of moves to allow independent audit of the accounts and remittance of the agency.

According to details of a letter sent to President Muhammadu Buhari by Nigeria’s Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, the yearly remittance of operating surpluses by the NPA from 2016 to 2020 was “far short of the amount due for actual remittance.”

In the letter, dated March 4, 2021, Amaechi said within the stipulated years, the NPA recorded an outstanding unremitted balance of N165.32bn and suggested that the financial account of the NPA be investigated and audited.

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