THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is demanding immediate payment of annual supervision fees (ASF) owed to it by debt-saddled shipping firm Negros Navigation (Nenaco).
The fees, unpaid since 1998, are not considered debts but taxes and are thus not covered by court protection under a rehabilitation plan obtained by the shipping line 2004, the agency said.
Nenaco, which now owes Marina P39.165 million in ASF, offered to settle the principal of P25.969 million but this was rejected by Marina.
“You can’t restructure taxes,” Marina administrator Vicente Suazo, Jr., said in an interview.
Nenaco owes creditors and suppliers more than P2.4 billion, more than P440 million of which represent unpaid taxes.
Since 2004, Marina has been scrutinizing the books of all domestic shipping lines to ensure they are financially capable of maintaining their operations.