NPA denies collecting jetty charges in dollar
Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) has denied collecting jetty charges in dollar, explaining that the services rendered operators are entirely billed in naira.
The clarification followed claim by oil marketers that the Authority and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) were yet to comply with Federal Government’s directive on naira transactions at the ports.
The accusers had said they have been constrained to import products due to alleged dollarisation of operations and critical activities by the two government agencies.
A source in NPA said: “This is not true, as jetty fees are not dollar-denominated. The services rendered to jetty operators, which are predominantly port-pier, are denominated in naira.” He added that the Authority only transacts with shipping lines and not depot operators.
The source said tariff in dollar applies only to vessel, an amount that is integral part of freighting. He said requesting for a transaction that has been denominated in dollar from the port of origin to be priced in naira would amount to subsidising operations of petroleum marketers without benefitting consumers and the larger economy.
The petroleum marketers had also claimed to compete unfavourably with Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited that accesses forex at official rates.
But NPA said NNPC informed it of being the sole importer of petroleum products, adding that the Authority has been billing the nation oil firm’s operations in naira since 2016.
The source said the Authority also applies tropical West African rates to NNPC vessels rather than foreign prices, all in a bid to bring down logistics costs.
He noted that the internal logistics costs constitute less than five per cent of the overall expenses of importing petroleum products.
While the oil marketers also claimed that the development has increased pressure on the naira, the source said the Authority’s collection of revenue is not responsible for the currency’s volatility.
“Our attention has been drawn to some media reports alleging that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) collection of revenue in dollars is responsible for the rising exchange rate of naira to dollar.
“This report smacks of mischief as the argument put forward is more to advance the profit margins of the purveyors of the news than to the benefit of consumers and the national economy.
“This clarification is made in order not to mislead the reading public about the causes of naira volatility,” he added.