By Mobolaji Odunuga
The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has served Nigeria Liquidified Natural Gas (NLNG) detention order on vessels for its alleged refusal to abide by negotiated terms of settlement which means there are default in taxes and levies.
Isichei Osamgbi, Head of Public Relations of NIMASA, made this known to journalists through a press release that the recent action by NIMASA was forced by NLNG’s disregard for the mediation process it subscribed to.
He noted that the action was forced on NLNG subsequent to refusal or/and failure to abide by the outcome of the negotiated settlement arrived at through the mediation process it willingly instigated and subscribed to, after reaching agreement with NIMASA on its outstanding debt and paying US$20m out of it and its continued flagrant disregard for Nigeria laws.
“NLNG had paid $20m(USDollars) out of its outstanding tax debts to NIMASA, the oil company’s action is trivializing the mediation process and the position of the Federal Government on the matter,which is that NLNG should honour its obligations to the Nigerian state by paying its taxes to NIMASA.
The Nigerian government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) holds 49 percent of the shares of NLNG and had subscribed to its payment of the arrears of taxes demanded by NIMASA,” the statement reads.
By the recent notices from NIMASA, all vessels owned or chartered by NLNG may be detained pending when the payments are made.
According to recent media reports, NLNG had dragged NIMASA to a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos over a disputed N32 billion debt, but Osambgi stated in the statement that NIMASA is not aware of any court order restraining or instituted against it over the issue.