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FG Not Owing Sacked Dockworkers – Minister

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The Federal government says none of the Dockworkers retrenched in 2006 as a result of Port concession is owed allowance or gratuity.
Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, stated this at the 34th Maritime Reporter’s’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) Anniversary and Awards held in Lagos.
Sambo said the only set of people that were not paid were those working for the private sector, but were given severance packages.
He emphasised that Federal Government would remain committed to policies that would boost the development of the Port Community System.
“The government is embarking on many projects to help the maritime industry: the Deep Blue Project will ensure the cost of importing cargo into the country is reduced.
“For the Lekki Deep Port, there is no reason we should have a replica of Apapa Port there and so I have instructed the Nigerian Ports Authority to ensure no movement of cargo by road,” he said.
Earlier, former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shipper’s’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, noted that there is need for constant review and re-alignment of port concession agreement, especially in the light of international trades in commerce.
Bello said the country cannot stop or even pause, as reforms must be continuous.
“The challenges are vast and varied but the prospects are enticing.
“The maritime industry must be comprehensively executed and strategically run as a fundamental economic factor with the target of contributing massively to the economic growth of the country,” he said.
Bello noted that the port reform in Nigeria was necessary, but crammed without regard to other sectors.
“The reform is critical, but not comprehensive and stands the risk of being derailed, curtailed, distorted or even reversed. This is because the legal framework is not dynamic and wholesome,” he said
He said government must perform its part as a major driver of the reform.
“The government must build and enhance critical infrastructure in which the port reform is anchored.
“Those critical infrastructure must be deliberately sited to make for coordination and linkages, especially inland connectivity. Transport infrastructure cannot be located haphazardly or anyhow.
“The Federal Government must provide conducive operating procedure, ease cost of doing business and fight corruption that threatens to put brakes on reforms.
“The regulatory institutions must be assigned specific roles.
“Concessioning is give and take, the involvement of stakeholders is necessary not only in drafting agreements but in monitoring the tenets of the agreement,” he said.
Also Speaking, Dr Bolaji Akinola, who represented the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, said the pains of the concession was the fact that people lost their jobs.
“The pains should be ameliorated by the Federal Government, whatever that is due to them should be given to them.
“There are also gains in human angle as before the concession dock workers were casual workers and they go home with N1,500 but this has changed.
“To reap the benefits of the concession, ancillary challenges such as clearing processes and infrastructure issues should be addressed,” Akinola said.
Earlier, Dr Ade Dosumu, former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and Chairman of the occasion, applauded MARAN for their contributions in the maritime sector.
Dosumu, however, called for training of journalists, so as to get the best out of them.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Involvement Of Vulnerable Groups Key To Eliminating Plastic Pollution – Expert

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The Women Empowerment Programme (WEP) on Saturday called for the inclusion of vulnerable groups in the implementation of policies and projects on plastic value chain to effectively eliminate plastic pollution across the country.
The Founder, WEP, Dr Priscilla Achakpa, said this at a Validation Workshop for Draft Narrative Report on Social Context Assessment for National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) in Abuja.
She said that the WEP was consulted by the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) in 2022 to conduct a Social Context Assessment for NPAP.
She said that the assessment was a national gender, equity and inclusion analysis of the plastic value chain and varied impacts of plastic pollution.
She said that the overall goal was to provide clear evidence that would feed into policies, planning and actions of the NPAP, to ensure that outcomes were gender responsive and inclusive.
Achakpa said that the aim of the workshop was to present the draft report for stakeholders to review the assessment findings, identify needs/gaps, and brainstorm possible responses to those gaps from across the communities.
She added that the assessment was conducted following the qualitative interactions with diverse categories of stakeholders through interviews and information from the experts.
She said that the assessment was focused on Lagos, Anambra, Kano, Benue and the FCT, between October and November 2022, which was based on the activities of plastics taken in those states.
The founder said that the WEP discovered during the assessment that the vulnerable were not really supported, adding that they needed financial assistance and should be involved in decision making.
“We discovered that lots of the vulnerable groups that are cleaning the streets and our government offices were not recognised while making decisions on the plastic value chain project.
“The activities of waste management or waste pickers are being done by the vulnerable, but when policies for waste management are enacted, these groups of people are not involved.
“Even the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are not conscious of the fact that we have these vulnerable groups that are into this circular economy activities.
“So, we have done the study on the activities to know what is happening among the vulnerable communities.
“We will re-examine these reports from the states.
“We have discovered that there is nothing like Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) policies on waste management. It is completely silent, so we want their voices to be heard.
“When we are talking about vulnerable groups, we mean people with disability, women and the youth and when decisions on plastic value chain projects are being made, these people are not inclusive.
“These groups are the major key people that eliminate plastic pollution in the society,’’ she said.
Achakpa said that the workshop was organised by WEP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and GPAP, a multi-stakeholder platform at the world economic forum.
She said that the GPAP aims to shape a more sustainable and inclusive world through the eradication of plastic pollution.

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MWUN Declares COMTUA’s Allegations False, Malicious

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The leadership of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has described the allegations against it by the President of the Committee of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA), Mr Yinka Aroyewun, as false and malicious.
Recall that COMTUA, had accused the MWUN of mounting 20 illegal extortion points between Coconut Bus Stop and Tin Can Island Port gate.
In a statement by MWUN, signed by its Secretary General, Comrade. Felix Akingboye, the union described the accusations as lies, while querying the possibility of having 20 checkpoints in a short distance of less than 1000 meters.
MWUN described the allegation by COMTUA as manipulative and laughable, adding that COMTUA has resorted to it’s gutter tactics of wantonly peddling falsehood.
Akingboye explained that for the sake of clarity, MWUN confines its activities to areas clearly within its jurisdictional scope.
”Ordinarily, MWUN would not join issues with COMTUA, but we are compelled by the manipulative and malicious lies put into public space by a clearly-disgruntled and disoriented Prince Adeyinka Aroyewun to issue this refuttal.
“We wish to point out that MWUN and other reputable unions and Associations were founding members of COMTUA, but had to withdraw their membership because continually a faction of COMTUA led by Prince Adeyinka Aroyewun breached COMTUA Memorandum of Understanding and resorted to blackmail and threats to members, security agents and government alike.

 

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Kirikiri Customs Laments 22% Drop In Cargoes

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The Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KTL), Apapa Area Command, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says there was a 21.6 per cent drop in cargoes at the command.
The controller in charge of the Command, Hammi Swomen, who disclosed this in Lagos, while addressing journalists during the unveiling of the command’s clinic, said  traffic congestion, a dilapidated section of the road and ongoing road construction on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway posed a big challenge to the transfer of containers from mother ports to the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal.
Noting that the Command relied virtually on transfer by barge, the KLT Customs boss said it has been difficult for the command to get the required infrastructures they needed to operate.
“It has not been easy accessing the office, coming to work and going back home. So, the road is one of our major constraints.
“I also mentioned that this building is not ours. It belongs to Nigerian Ports Authority. So, it has affected us in putting some structures on the ground to help us perform Customs duties.
“For example, we don’t have a functional cell in the command. We have to rely on Federal Operations Unit Zone A to keep our suspects,” he explained.
Swomen blamed the unavailability of forex for importers and bad access roads to the command as a reason for the drop.
“Most of you are also aware of the trend in the economy last year. You know the prices of goods in the market. The exchange rate of the naira against international currencies has been a challenge but we didn’t just sit down, fold our arms and say we have this problem”, he stated.
According to him, since the Coand was created,  it received the first vessel directly to the terminal in November 2022, adding that he has been able to increase the number of terminals under the command.
“We have a situation on the ground in the terminal where we are really solely on transfers. But I am happy to tell you that for the first time in the history of the command we received our first vessel in November 2022 from one of the terminals. So, it is no longer a case of relying on Apapa and TinCan but we also receive vessels directly.
“We also improve our revenue performance and create an enabling environment where the importers will have a seamless business environment. We are also hopeful that the full automation of our processes is coming along. We are also very hopeful that when this road is completed it will be a very different story for us,” he noted.

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