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Association Faults JTF’S Boat Registration ..Says Its Double Taxation

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The President of the Seamen and Water Transport Workers Association (SWTWA) in Rivers State, Mr Horsfall Topman has said that the registration fee for vessels, barges and boats being demanded by the Joint Military Taskforce (JTF) through its operational code-name “Operation Pulo Shield” amounts to double taxation.

Mr Topman, who made this assertion in a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt recently while reacting to the demand by the JTF said members of the association had been paying their annual registration to the federal government, and wondered why they should pay another registration fee.

According to him, members were not opposing the documentation of all boats, and vessels in the Niger Delta, but the fee attached to it, adding that JTF should concern itself with the security operations.

The President said,” we are not opposed to that, what we are asking is that, is the revenue going to the federal government or a tax made by the National Assembly through the JTF?. He argued that such registration fee is illegal and amounts to double taxation.

He noted that the National Inland Waterways, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) or the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) are the authorised organisations that could collect or demand registration fee for boats, and vessels.

Meanwhile, the announcement by the JTF over the registration of boats, vessels, barges and motorised boats in the Niger Delta had been generating disapproval in the maritime sector.

Some boat owners who spoke with our correspondent said although the registration is a good move, attaching a fee to it, which they had already paid is questionable. They called on the government to urgently wade into the issue.

However, a top member of the taskforce who spoke wit The Tide on telephone on condition of anonymity said what the JTF is doing was verification of already registered boats inorder to enable it control crime in the Niger Delta as well as protect lives and property.

He however hinted that there has been reasonable compliance by boat owners and the exercise is on-going without hitches.

It would be recalled that the JTF announced that vessels  and boat owners are to pay the sum of N25,000 registration fee, N10,000 for motorised boats and N5,000 for small boats.

 

Collins Barasimeye

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Maritime

NPA Board Chairman Laments Insecurity At Onne Port 

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Chairman, Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Emmanuel Oladimeji Adesoye, has decried the spate of insecurity at the NPA, Onne Port, saying it has lowered the port’s productivity.
Adesoye stated this yesterday at the NPA, Onne Port Complex, shortly after the facility tour of the port.
Adesoye who was accompanied by members of the Board, regretted the recent attacks on vessels, off  20 nautical  miles to Bonny Harbour.
He, however, assured that the issue of insecurity at the port would be taken to the Federal Government for quick intervention.
“We need to be careful of insecurity in the port and at the waterways” he said.
The board chairman also said that the welfare of port’s staff is dear to the Federal Government.
According to him, the welfare of port workers across the country is the nation’s welfare and would be accorded priority attention.
On the issue of bad road networks to the port, Adesoye said the management of NPA would liaise with the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out a repair works on the road and possibly expand the lanes to enhance smooth operations at the port.
Earlier, Port Manager, Onne Port Complex, Alhaji Alhassan Ismaila Abubakar, had said the management  of the port was making moves towards a 24-hour shipping operations at the port.
He said his desire was to see Onne Port competing favourably with other ports in the world in terms of cargo handling and shipment.
The port manager told the NPA Board members that the management enjoyed cordial relationship with the stakeholders, terminal operators and its host communities.
He also said that the port had not failed in its Corporate Social Responsibility CSR to the host communities.

 

Stories by Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Shippers Caution FG Against Banning  Import Items 

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Following the ban placed on over 41 import items into the country, the Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS), has cautioned the Federal Government against denying importers of traded goods access to foreign exchange.
The association said the port system in the country has suffered tremendously from the initial forex restriction order on 41 items.
The President of SALS, Rev Jonathan Nicol, stated this in a statement made available to The Tide on Wednesday.
Nicol said many companies in Nigeria were already folding up due to the Federal Government’s ban on import goods, even as he warned that Nigerian ports would suffer further setbacks if the government adds traded goods to the list.
According to him, the ban on 41 items by the government has had ripple effects on most Nigerian shippers as the port system has also suffered tremendously due to the ban.
“If the government now places ban on some of the items that industries need to produce, because most of the 42 items already on ban have to do with Industries, so if the government wants to place more items on ban, it means that the industries will suffer.
“In fact, some of them are already packing up their loads because they cannot even sell their goods.
“I know one or two who found it difficult to import this year; their workforce is about 500 Nigerians, they worked three shifts before, now they hardly do two shifts because they are reducing.
“With all these, the manufacturers cannot cope because there is no income. Check through their warehouses, they are sealed up because they cannot sell their goods because there is no money in the country for citizens to buy goods”
“So, how many of the factories will survive if the government places ban on some more items? It means that our port system will be empty”, he said.
The clergy noted that most of the importers from the informal sector were still surviving because they sourced their foreign exchange themselves.
Recall that last week, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop issuance of foreign exchange for food importation, so as to increase local production of food in the country.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had also announced plans to put forex restriction on dairy products during the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held on July 23 in Abuja.

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Maritime

Stakeholders Want Govt To Reconstruct Bonny/Bille Jetty

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Stakeholders in the marine industry in Rivers State have called on the state government to reconstruct the dilapidated Bonny/Bille Jetty to enhance smooth water transportation in the state.
The stakeholders described the jetty as a transit point to Bonny Island and other adjoining riverine communities in the state.
Jack Green, a concerned citizen and a stakeholder in the marine business, spoke to The Tide on the state of the neglected Jetty in Port Harcourt, recently.
Green said the sorry state of the jetty had caused untold hardships to the users and equally bred crimes, saying hoodlums use the jetty to perpetrate all manners of crimes in the area.
He appealed to the state government to build a standard jetty that would stand the test of time, as well as provide all necessary facilities to make lives more comfortable for travellers.
Green noted that the delay in completion of the jetty had impacted negatively on the lives of boat operators and commuters in the area.
According to him, following the poor state of the jetty, passengers find it difficult to board boats during the rainy season.
Describing the state of the jetty as risky, Green called on companies and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the state to assist in providing lifeguards to passengers travelling to riverine communities.
He also appealed to boat drivers plying Bonny route to safe lives by avoiding overspeeding and reckless driving.

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