The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello yesterday in Lagos revealed that the federal agency frustrated the activities of oil subsidy fraudsters between 2011 and 2015 and saved over $2.7 billion into the economy.
Bello who made the revelation during an oversight function visit by House Committee on Ports, Habour & Waterways, said when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had fears that oil importers’ subsidy claims were becoming unbearable, it called on NSC to begin a scheme that will always confirm documentation and claims of weight imports on its behalf so as to know the actual import bills and subsidy to pay oil importers.
Explaining how the Shippers’ Council assisted the apex bank to save the money for the economy, Director, Commercial Shipping Services at NSC, Mrs. Dabrey Shalholma said; “During the cause of checking claims of oil marketers as demanded by the CBN, we observed gross incidences of overcharging, over invoicing and a lot of sharp practices designed to cut out money from the government and we have to stop it”.
“In fact at some point, we noticed that some of them push forward payment documents to the CBN for services that were not rendered or even for goods and oil products that were not imported.
Continuing, Mrs. Shalholma said, “Currently, the sharp practices from where government revenues are leaking have been effectively checked by NSC and it has stopped. We have been blocking the leakages and the wastages since we got the distress call from the apex banks in 2011.
She disclosed further that the importers would have bled the economy dry if Shippers Council failed to act fast.
Explaining more on the performance of the Council before the House Committee audience, Barr Bello called on the National Assembly to assist in reviewing the enabling laws governing port activities so as to step up ports revenue generation especially now the economy is no more dependent on oil.
Responding, the leader of the House Committee who doubles as the chairman, Dr. Pat Asadu who spoke to the press after closed door meeting with the management team of the NSC, said “From what we have seen and observed right from our tour of the port facilities to looking into the books and even listening to the Executive Secretary, we are convinced that maritime sector has what it takes to fund many years of national budget as the highest revenue earner now oil has failed.”
According to the lawmaker, “We are going to do our best in appropriating the best and sustainable maritime laws that will be designed to boost revenue generation and also create the needed environment to encourage ease of doing business in the Nigerian ports”.
He made it clear that the Committee members are in Lagos as part of their familiarization tour of facilities under their Committee so as to have first hand details of how they work and operate, saying the details they have gotten will guide them in coming up with the best budget approval for all the relevant agencies of government in the maritime sector.