No conflict of interest in port industry, NPA, says MD
The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, has denied insinuations that there is a crisis of confidence currently rocking not only the authority but also the maritime industry as awhole.
A stament by the General Manager Public Affairs of the authority, Mr. Effiong Etim Nduonofit said that there is no crisis of confidence in Nigeria’s port system, insisting that any insinuation to the contrary is a figment of the imagination of the architect of such insinuations.
He said that the allegation that there is crisis of confidence in the industry, which he also described as unfounded, was master-minded by some selfish and self-seeking individuals, who have benefitted from the old rot in the systemand therefore can nolonger withstand the heat of the anti-corruption war and reforms going on both inNPA,and the port industry as a whole.
According to him, such selfishand self -seeking persons neither neither have any respect for the interest of the authority nor that of the Nigerian nation.
The statement reads in part: “In a scorched earth attack on the management of theNPA and in particular its Managing Director, those arrayed against it showed scant regard for the interest of the NPA and by extension the interests of Nigeria; their concern is personal and pecuniary”.
“When you hear talksabout the fight against corruption, places such as the NPA are the trenches where it must be won, a coal face to be conquered. It is precisely in such places where government revenues are collected and dispensed with in prodigious quantities that corrupt activities have long thrived and become second nature”.
He said that the MD of NPA,Ms. Hadiza Usmanis therefore not surprised to find herself in the middle of such insinuations, which are merely a fight back by those vested interests that stand to lose the most from the reforms being introduced at the NPA by the new management.
The statemeent also insists that such attacks are calculated to undermine the management of the NPA in order to question and misrepresent the positive changes and the international best business practices being introduced.
According to him, such insinuations and allegations are particularly misleading and intended to divert attention from the depths of the rot that had existed in the system before the advent of the new management.
The statement, which also noted that these criticisms, insinuations, allegations and accusations levelled against the MD do not border on integrity or competence, insisted that the masterminds would have even been worse if they found themselves in a similar position.
It was gathered thatonesuch insinuations was to the effect that the positions of the MD and her ex-husband, Mr. TaminuYakubu represent a conflict of interest.
While reacting to these allegations, the NPA GM stated that nothing could be further from the truth that the masterminds of these insinuation deliberately decided not to tell the world that the so-called couple had as amatter fact divorced and have remained so at all materials times.
He also disclosed that contrary to claims and insinuations, Mr. TaminuYakubu was never a member of the All Progressives Congress APC, Presidential Campaign Policy Advisory Committeeand so couldnot have chaired such a committee.
This committee was actually chaired by former Ekiti State Governor and current Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Feyemi.
“The masterminds of these callous allegations and nsinuations also failed to state that Mr. Taminu’s resignation from the Technical Advisory Board of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base LADOL, a port operator, rendered any claim of a conflict of interest baseless and unfounded”.
“This decision to completely ignore the truth and rather promote falsehood is the hallmark of those that would block the route to change. What is in the best interest of the vested interest will more often than not get in the way of policies directed to achieve the best interest of the Nigerian nation”, the GM said.
He also noted that as a matter of policy, the Federal Government and its agencies have sought to introduce nationwide benchmarks; one of which is the use of the Treasury Single Account for domiciling all government revenue,no matter where they are generated from.
He added that the coming into operation of the TSA policy implies that the NPA must collect and pay all revenue proceeds from all its business operations and activities into a designated account,unlike other separate and distinct activities that relate to its appropriation and disbursal of funds for budgeted activities.
“The TSA policy has introduced a degree of fiscal discipline into the affairs of all MDAs and served to reduce corruption and the scope for impunity.Its systematic introduction by the NPA has further reduced the opportunity for corrupt practices and further hindered the self-enrichment by these vested interests”.
A principal part of the reforms required has been tackling the monopolies that have grown out of a system more attuned to the interest of operators and concessionaires than the interest of the country. No where do such monopolies feel threatened more than inthe oil sector and port operations and none of the machinations playing out will be far removed from this most lucrative of sectorsof the economy”, the statement said emphatically.