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REPS SEEK TO REVOKE PORTS' CONCESSION AGREEMENT

By NBF News
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Based on the findings of an ad-hoc committee raised to investigate the concession agreement between the Federal Ministry of Finance and Single Window Systems and Technology Limited, the House of Representatives has recommended to the Federal Government to cancel the agreement, in the interest of the nation.

The panel of 10 members of the House, headed by the Deputy House Leader, Leo Ogor, also recommended in the report laid on the table last week to discontinue with the agreement entered into with Webb Fontaine limited.

Webb Fontaine, according to the findings of the panel, was to provide for the Nigerian Customs hardware and soft wares for the full implementation of a new integrated national system for Customs operation and full system integration of the Automated System for Customs Data [ASYCUDA].

In the course of investigation, the committee discovered that the firm had been indicted by four different panels for performing below expectations in areas of manpower training, to the extent that the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] was advised not to honour payments due to it by the Nigerian Customs Service.

According to the report of the committee, it was also discovered that Single Window System Technology Limited was yet to be incorporated in Nigeria, as an entity to carry out business transaction as at the time the agreement was signed with the Federal Government.

This, the panel noted contravened the Companies and Allied Matters Act C20 Laws of the Federation on Nigeria, 2000.

It was discovered that the same company not only acted as Consultant to the Ministry of Finance in negotiating the terms of agreement on the project, one of the directors was discovered to have a dual citizenship.

Defending the choice of Single Window System limited as consultant, the committee was informed by officials of the Ministry of Finance that the company had carried out feasibility studies for the Federal government.

However, the company was found out to have usurped the powers of the National Assembly by imposing taxes and fees on all export from Nigeria, including export of crude oil and fees for Destination Inspection of imported goods, a violation of Sections 58 and 59 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The Ministry of Finance was indicted for failure to publish the concession of the Single Window System in at least one or more national dailies as stipulated in section 2[4] of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission [ICRC] act 2005 and provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.