Importers Applaud Intels’ Chairman over Move to Resolve Contract Dispute

The Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA) has commended the Chairman of Intels Nigeria Limited, Mr. Gabriele Volpi, for taking steps to resolve the dispute between his company and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over remittances into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

While NPA had insisted that all funds collected on its pilotage agency agreement with Intels be remitted into the TSA account, Intels had argued that such directive was in violation of the contract terms.

The stalemate prompted the NPA to terminate the 10-year pilotage agreement contract with Intels.

But Intels chairman, who was out of the country when the contract was terminated, upon his return last week waded into the matter with a view to ensuring amicable settlement of the dispute.

Reacting to the Intels boss determination to resolve the matter, NIIA President, Godwin Onyekachi, said Volpi’s intervention “is a mark of good leadership.”

He said: “It will save a lot of jobs and restore investors’ confidence in Nigeria. Disputes are bound to arise in commercial transactions of this nature and it is the responsibility of concerned parties to shift grounds so as to arrive at an amicable resolution.”

Speaking separately in the same vein, a development economist, Dr. Austin Nweze, and leading financial analyst, Dr. Ken Igboanugo, said the lingering NPA/Intels face-off was a bad signal to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Specifically, Nweze said: “The government’s decision will send wrong signal to foreign investors who want to invest or those who would have wanted to do more than they have done because they know government can wake up one day to terminate the contract without recourse to the law and the contract agreement.

“Government is gradually destroying the economy with every of its action. The international community takes note of all contractual actions and the irony is that we travel abroad asking investors to come and invest but what will they invest for when simple agreement cannot be adhered to.”

On his part, Igboanugo advised the NPA management to take all necessary steps to resolve the dispute amicably in order to encourage investment in the country.

Volpi, who arrived in the country last week, described Intels as a committed development partner to Nigeria.

He said: “We intend to comply with the directive of government and transfer all the revenue to the TSA because we are a law-abiding company.”

Volpi also allayed fears that the company would pull out of its investment in the Badagry deep seaport project.

The Intels Chairman  added: “We are committed to cooperating with the government and NPA in the development of Nigeria’s maritime sector and this includes the Badagry deep seaport.

“The Badagry deep seaport is a massive undertaking which will cost billions of dollars and will be the biggest in Africa as well as turn Nigeria into a regional hub for ships bringing goods to the continent.

“It will also help to move a lot of shipping activities at the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports and help to decongest Apapa, so we are serious about our investments in Nigeria.”

 

SAAMEDIA/ThisdayLive

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