The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) says the plan by the Federal Government to re-establish the Nigeria National Shipping Line (NNSL) without addressing the plight of disengaged aged seafarers who were part of the defunct carrier is a mirage.
President General, MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, said the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, said the ministry will consider the reestablishment of the NNSL through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Adeyanju, who stated this in a statement made available to newsmen, described Oyetola’s plan to re-establish the NNSL as a mirage.
He said the re-establishment of a new NNSL after 28 years of its liquidation would be a mirage, if the retired seafarers who worked tirelessly with deep sense of patriotism for the country were not given their due rights.
“This will only amount to human injustice of the highest order. It will also be tantamount to placing the cart before the horse if such proposition is in the pipeline without first thinking of the aged seafarers.
“We, as a labour union, will not sit aloof and keep watching our aged seafarers to continue suffering unnecessary penury after meritorious years of service to their fatherland.
“It’s true that some of the aged seafarers have died from various types of ailments: some from psychological torture and trauma; mental degradation; abject poverty; and so much more that has weighed them down in depression”, he said.
He recalled that the former Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, had set up a committee involving two ministries, Ministry of Transportation, and Ministry of Labour to carry out physical verification exercise of the aged seafarers.
“The union thought this will bring some sort of succour, but the story is still the same. It’s indeed unfortunate to say here that the committee has never met.
“So, where do we go from here, when you want to refloat the NNSL with no consideration to the seafarers who served the defunct carrier vessels?
“This is unheard of anywhere globally. Therefore, the assertion for a new NNSL is a mirage in its conception, except the needful is done”, he said.
Adeyanju noted that he informed the Minister of the enormous task ahead of him in his ministry and varying major issues confronting the union, especially on the protracted unpaid entitlements and pensions of disengaged seafarers of the liquidated NNSL.
He noted that the union had a different view of the Minister when he did not speak about the aged seafarers who navigated the moribund national carrier vessels over the new NNSL proposal.
Adeyanju urged the Minister to look into the nagging issue of the seafarers in the country.
He, however, promised the Minister of the union’s support towards making sure that the nation achieves much in the sector in his tenure.
MWUN Demands Fixing Failed Tin-Can, Onne Ports’ Quay-Aprons
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has again raised concerns over the decay in ports Infrastructure across the littoral states of the nation, saying the dilapidated quay apron Tin Can Island Port Complex and Port Harcourt Port pose serious danger to dockworkers.
President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos during the recent Dockworkers Day Celebration.
Adeyanju, who is also the Deputy President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), lamented that the two major seàports in Lagos are old, hence government and the concessionaires have failed to maintain or upgrade the infrastructure for optimal utilisation.
Apparently unhappy with the situation in furtherance to the protection of dockers, the President General stated that “Today’s event is expected to X-ray the challenges faced by the Dockworkers in their daily struggle and efforts toward Port efficiency and in the light of ever-improving technological driven economy.
“MWUN Warns NPA To Stop Vessels From Berthing At Five Star Logistics Terminal.
“Training and career is fundamental and provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential to protect them against various hazardous working conditions.
“It is instructive to note that the environment we operate has posed dangers to our lives. For instance, the quay aprons at Apapa port complex are dilapidated and Tin Can Island Port Complex has collapsed due to long use, while Port Harcourt port is aged and decrepit”.
MOWCA Seeks Collaboration With Incoming IMO Scribe
Secretary General of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, has met with the newly elected Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Arsenio A. Dominguez Velasco, in London to continually foster cooperation between both bodies.
Their meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the recently held 33rd General Assembly of the IMO, explored already agreed areas of collaboration between both organisation with a view to continuing them when Velasco resumes in January 2024.
While congratulating Dominguez on his new appointment and reassuring him of MOWCA’s support in promoting environmentally safe and sustainable shipping in West and Central Africa , Adalikwu recalled that he achieved the signing of a Joint Action Plan (JAP) agreed by both bodies in 2022 under the outgoing Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim.
Adalikwu gave Dominguez a brief on MOWCA, its scope of operations and achievements made under his watch in the past two years, while the incoming IMO SG promised to consolidate and sustain the relationship between both organisations.
The IMO and MOWCA had agreed on a Joint Action Plan (JAP) to promote maritime security, safe, efficient and environment friendly shipping.
The JAP was agreed upon at IMO headquarters in London with outgoing IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, MOWCA Secretary General, Dr Paul Adalikwu, and transportation ministers from West and Central African countries in attendance.
Both bodies agreed that the JAP be operational from 2022 to 2032 in the first phase and implemented to align towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Maritime Transport Charter, African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050, and African Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development.
Adalikwu described the JAP as a bold step towards ensuring improved safety of ships, crew members and cargoes on African waters, especially in the West and Central African regions.
He added that the move would engender more technical cooperation between IMO and MOWCA for strategic human capital development that will leverage on technology.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
NCS Enforces FG’s 22% Increase On Import Duty
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has begun enforcement on the 22.24 percent increase on import duty, by the Federal Government.
Federal Government had increased import duties by as much as 22.24 percent, a development that may worsen the inflationary trend that is already prevailing in the country.
The increase, which is the third this year from records, is expected to drive the cost of clearing a 40-foot container from N7.3 million to N8.9 million, and is warranted by the depreciation of the Naira, as the naira value of the imports rose astronomically, affecting the import duty component.
NCS in a release on Friday, explained that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, and the entire personnel were not aware of the development until it was communicated by the Ministry of Finance.
The statement further added that the NCS only carry out the directive of the Federal Government.
It, however, noted that the Service is not oblivious of what await importers, adding that the agency will maximise its service delivery and work on clearing cargoes as soon as paper works are completed.
”The NCS recognises the import of this exchange rate, particularly when it is done without prior notice on trade.
“We have addressed freight forwarders; we recognise what the Nigerian business community is going through but there is little we can do about fiscal and monetary policies. Our role is to implement them.
“But we align ourselves with government policies because every decision taken is for the collective interest of the nation and I expect that we all abide by it.
“What we said we should do as Customs, which we have told the freight forwarders and clearing agents, is that to mitigate the impact of what they are going to go through in the next few days, we will maximize our service delivery by ensuring that importers do not incur demurrage and associated costs”, the statement noted.
Although the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), in reacting to this development through its Vice President, Segun Oduntan, said there was nothing anybody can do about it, he appealed to the government to assist Nigerians in transportation by pegging the duty rate on buses and transport vehicles at zero duty.
He also noted that the development will result in higher inflation on goods and services in the country.
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