Stories by Oladipo Oluwatosin
Various ports across the country is about to witness some positive changes following moves by the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to introduce a friendly working environment in all the ports.
Unlike in the past where importers were discouraged from using the Nigerian ports due to bottle necks in clearing their goods and payment of duties, which has made many importers to result into the use of Benin Republic and Togo ports, thereby denying the Federal government of revenue, the NIMASA management said stakeholders in the industry will soon have reasons to smile. The moves will facilitate maritime trade and investment to grow the nation’s economy.
In a statement by the agency signed by the Head Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Isichei Osamgbi , it stated that according to the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of the Agency, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, while signing the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) agreement for Dockworkers between the Terminal Operators and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) at the NIMASA Headquarters, Apapa, Lagos, a mutual understanding between the workers and employers in the industry is needed at this time the country is experiencing economic challenges.
It added that the Chairperson of Seaport Terminals Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, who was also at the event, commended management of NIMASA led by Dr. Dakuku Peterside for initiating the peaceful moves among stakeholders in the ports.
“Nigeria has never had it so good, the atmosphere in and around the ports has made it so conducive for everyone to carry out his or her business and this is because NIMASA has always brought the issues of welfare of dockworkers to the front burner,” she said.
In the same vein, the President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Anthony Nted said that NIMASA should be commended for the new harmonious working relationship between terminal operators and workers in the ports, stating that MWUN is willing to abide by the signed agreement.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of a brand new Toyota Hiace bus to MWUN by NIMASA to enhance inspections of Terminals by the Union. Mr. Ahmed urged the leadership to impress on its members to be law abiding and assured them of the unflinching support of the Government to ensure fairness in the industry.
The agreement which is for a period of two years is intended to ensure industrial peace in the industry as it encompasses fair treatment of Dockworkers, by ensuring that every employee gets an employment letter and a package as terminal benefits when their contract expires which has not been the case in recent past with some operators.
The statement further stated that as part of the agency’s commitment to the welfare of maritime workers in Nigeria and in line with global best practice, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside recently asserted that a labourer is worthy of his rewards, and assured that no Dockworker in all the seaports in the country will be short changed.