16-Years After Sacking 9,000 Workers, NPA Gets Approval to Employ More Staff
…NIWA Also Assures Employment for Junior Workers
…As MWUN Holds NEC Meeting, Demands Maritime Policy
… NIMASA DG Commits to Building Seafarers Center in Lagos
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said that it has received an approval from the Federal Government to commence employment of more staff in order to beef up the strength of the apex maritime agency.
Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko stated this on Monday at the National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) held in Festac Town, Lagos.
Represented by the General Manager Human Resources, Mr Ahmad Umar, Bello-Koko expressed concerns that there are more senior staff in NPA now, more than the junior officers.
According to him, the NPA currently has an inverted pyramid structure with more senior officers occupying larger number, than the junior workforce.
He assured that the employment which is going to take place now would focus more on strengthening the lower cadre.
Speaking he said “The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is concerned about the dwindling numbers in terms of staffing, the Managing Director is interested in this particular issue, and he has obtained an approval to employ more of staff than officers
This is to increase the numbers, this is to strengthen your union and address most of the issues you have raised here, so be rest assured that NPA is addressing the issue.
“The NPA as it is today has an inverted pyramid structure, there is a lot of officers more than the staff, the issue is going to be addressed and your numbers is going to be increased”
The NPA boss commended MWUN under Comrade Adeyanju and his executives for the high level of leadership shown by embracing dialogue as the best option for dispute resolution, even as he assured continued support and welfare of the agency.
Also speaking, Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Dr George Moghalu who was represented by Mr Hakeem Agbaje noted that NIWA is also making efforts to ensure that more junior staffs are employed into the agency.
Speaking he said “Many that were employed back then are now senior staff, in fact we have them up to the level of Assistant Managing Director level 14 officers in NIWA now, this tells us that we need more staff to handle most of our day in, day out activities, so presently, NIWA is on it and I am happy to tell you that”
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Bashir Jamoh assured that the agency is working on building a befitting Maritime Seafarers Center for the Maritime Workers Union in Lagos.
The NIMASA boss stated this in response to demands by MWUN for the creation of the seafarers centre which can be utilized by both local and international seafarers. The union wanted the center to be situated around Lekki Free Port and environs.
According to Dr Jamoh, NIMASA had made efforts to aquire a property in Apapa; Mobil Pegasus, and planned to turn it into a seafarers centre, but that the owners of the property changed their minds. He however assure that NIMASA would deliver on the project soon.
Dr Jamoh also assured the leadership of MWUN that the payment of pension to aged seafarers is being workers upon with support of the Minister of Transportation, Eng Muazu Jaji Sambo, assuring that after the December festivities, the efforts would yield results.
Speaking earlier, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju his welcome address lamented that after the port concession exercise that took place at Nigerian ports in 2006, about 9,000 people lost their jobs, leaving only 4,000 at NPA.
He said there is an extinction of junior workforce at NPA even though the Senior ones are retiring. He called for adequate personnel spread to all areas of port operations, in order to man jetties and port terminals.
Comrade Adeyanju also noted that the lack of a clear-cut maritime policy is a major factor affecting the concessioning programme as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)
seem to lack the statutory basis to checkmate the private terminal operators.
He also called for a national transport Policy for the overall development of the country.
“We enjoin the necessary authority to correct this anomaly, as port operators without a regulatory body pose enormous danger to port users and non development of our exporting ability
“As workers in the transport sector, we yearn for seamless movement of people and goods from one point to another to boost our economy and stimulate social integration. Unfortunately, this desire is hampered clearly by our nation’s lack of a clear transport policy. It is obviously now necessary that, Nigeria develops a
sustainable national integrated transport policy to serve as a catalyst to the overall development of the country” he said
The MWUN commended the Minister of Transportation, Eng Muazu Jaji Sambo for securing President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)
He urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to put the CVFF to a good work of procuring more vessels to provide employment for the teeming NSDP cadet trainees.
The MWUN President General noted that employees of Shipping companies in Nigeria are being treated badly with very poor terms of engagement and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
“We must therefore begin to consider and institute a working NJIC for the shipping sector. It has therefore become important that we take action to get respect and dignity for our members in the shipping sector with the view to alleviate their pain and suffering.
“This is why it is important to stress that agreements, collective bargaining, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are necessary tools which should be held holy and complied to always when they are reached.
“We are therefore very pleased with the management of Bollore Transport & Logistics Nigeria Limited who recently entered into an MOU with the Union —MWUN, which provisions we implore BTL management to comply with as a precedent to others.
“Consequently, we reinstate the state of emergency declared in the Nigeria Shipping Industry by the Union — MWUN and call on the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) and other well meaning maritime practitioners to take heed now to save our shipping industry from imminent industrial action” he said