By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) Maritime Branch and Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have written President Bola Tinubu to reverse the 50% automatic deduction from revenue of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)
The two house unions at a joint press conference in Lagos on Monday argued that automatic deduction of 50% of its internally generated revenue shall definitely leave NPA financially incapacitated to discharge its responsibilities.
The union warned that failure to rescind the decision would lead to workers withdraw and total shutdown of the port
Addressing the joint press conference, President of SSASCGOC, Comrade Akinola Bodunde and President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju noted that vessels are no longer coming into Nigerian Ports, and that financial sustainance of NPA has been difficult due to harsh economic policies.
The unions stated that “Our attention has been drawn to the Federal Ministry of Finance’s (FMF) circular Ref FMFCME/OTHERS/IGR/CFR/ 21/2023 dated 28” December, 2023 addressed to all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies/Parastatals on automatic deduction of 50% from internally generated revenue.
“We have carefully studied this circular especially as it relates/affects the Nigerian Ports Authority and hasten to express our displeasure over same on the following grounds. Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is a self-funded Government Agency which receives zero allocation from the Government budget and taking a chunk of 50% of its internally generated revenue will as a matter of fact stall or impede the effective discharge of its corporate responsibilities and the consequential effect of this will not be palatable.
“Few of such corporate duties include; Constant Dredging of our Port Channels: Our channes are probably the shallowest in the West Africa Sub region especially the Eastern Ports channe s. They require constant dredging without which vessels cannot be easly p oted to berth.
“Dredging of the Ports channels require huge financial outlay. This w’ be pretty d fficutt to achieve when 50% of its internally generated revenue is removed. The resu tant effect will lead to ship owners diverting their vessels to our neighboring countr’es where ease of doing business is provided.
“Regular maintenance of our Quay Aprons: Almost all the Ports Quay Aprons are in bad shape due to old age and they therefore constitute grave danger not ony to men but also to equipment. We had at one time or the other expressed fear over the dilapidated condition of our Ports Quay Aprons.
“Maintaining and sustaining healthy Quay Aprons is capital intensive and if our Quay Aprons are this bad now, one can only imagine what the situation would look like when NPA is denied 50% of its revenue.
“We need to be proactive as our neighboring countries are very ready to capitalize on our inability to provide the required infrastructure to attract ship owners. Maintenance of Ports, Jetties and Terminals: Maintenance of Ports, Jetties and Terminals is also capital intensive.
“Presently all the infrastructures in our Ports, Jetties and Terminals are in decrepit position, yawning for urgent repairs. How would they then look like when the Authority is denied 50% of its internally generated revenue?
The situation is better imagined than described.
Man Power Development:
A healthy and well-trained workforce is a pre-requisite condition for improved productivity and efficient service delivery. Needless to say that Port operations is a specialized one that requires well trained workforce to compete favorably and take the lead to become the hub of maritime business in the West African sub region. A 50% deduction of NPA internally generated revenue will impede the attainment of this lofty dream. Discharge of Corporate Social Responsibilities: Nigerian Ports Authority operates in a hostile environment, especially in the Eastern axis. (Niger Delta).
“Discharge of corporate social responsibilities overtime have immensely doused their restiveness and this has fostered clement environment for the Authority and other stakeholders to operate.
“Automatic deduction of 50% of its internally generated revenue shall definitely leave the Authority, financially incapacitated to discharge these responsibilities to the host community which may lead them to resort to unhealthy activities.
“Staff Welfare Issues: are issues that require urgent attention; failure of which usually lead to inclement industrial atmosphere. Automatic deduction of 50% revenue internally generated will incapacitate the Authority from prompt attendance to staff welfare matters which will lead to avoidable crises.
“Flowing from the above, we hereby reiterate our objection to the circular as it relates to the Nigerian Ports Authority.
“RECOMMENDATION: We recommend that 30% of the revenue internally generated by the Authority could be automatically deducted whilst 70% is left for the Authority to accomplish its overhead costs and statutory responsibilities, failure of which the Union would have no other option than to withdraw the services of its members from all Ports formations nationwide”