By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Lagos State Government and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the collection of the Wharf Landing Fee in Apapa.
Wharf Landing Fees Law No. 5 of 2009 was introduced during the regime of Babatunde Fashola to empower the Lagos State government to collect various sums of money as fees from goods that land at the Lagos Ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island.
Speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS on Monday, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju confirmed the agreement, saying that the move is to further put direction in collection of the fee and to improve revenue for the union as well.
Under the Wharf Landing Fees law, various levies, which vary from N300 to N1,000 were imposed on consignments transported from Lagos ports to other parts of the state and the country.
While making the law, Fashola had said wharf landing fees was introduced to repair the damages heavy trucks inflict on state and local government roads.
Adeyanju told our correspondent that with the union involvement, collecting officials of the fee would not be seen on the road, but the fee would be collected inside the terminals.
He said that to a large extent, the wharf landing fee has enjoyed support of maritime stakeholders support and compliance, and that the union would ensure that the fund is used to support the Local Government, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the maritime industry.
Comrade Adeyanju said “We have just signed an MoU with Lagos State Wharf Landing Operations, we try to collaborate with them on this wharf landing fee collection”
“It has been in existence since the time of Gov Raji Fashola, but now we as Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria are partnering with them on revenue generation”
“It is more or less a revenue drive, if they do not see efficiency in us, they would not come to us and say we should collaborate, it is because of the efficiency they saw in us, this means that more revenue for them, and better for the Maritime Workers Union”
“It is the same method they have using for collection of the toll that is still being maintained, some companies even pay in bulk to the wharf landing in order not to disrupt their trucks on the road”
“Our own is just like a back up, we have signed MoU with them, our members are now going to be with them, we not talking about touts, I mean from level of Presidents, District officers, and other executive officers of the union are the ones representing us there”
“The collaboration would reduce gridlock in Apapa, the situation whereby officials go on the road and start blocking trucks would no longer work, it would now be done inside the terminal through the truck owners”
“The truck owners have been complying, it is not a new thing”
Adeyanju noted that most roads constructed in Apapa during Governor Fashola tenure in Lagos is as a result of effort of the wharf landing fee collection.
“I believe this is a wake up call for the government, maritime workers Union now being a member of the collection would let them know what they are supposed to do in terms of supporting the Local Government, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the maritime sector at large”
“We have signed similar MoU with truckers body; COMTUA, but we pulled out when we realised the body us made up of associations, there is no way association and union can work together, we are for the interest of our members while they are looking out for profits, they are business men” he said