The country’s ports operations are at the verge of being disrupted if the threat of the umbrella body of workers at the seaports is carried out following their insistence that the federal government must reconsider its decision to slash fifty percent of internally generated revenue (IGR) from Federal Government-Owned Enterprises (FGOE) including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), managers of the ports on behalf of the government.
A warning to that effect was issued by the duo of Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies Branch (SSASCGOC) and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) at a briefing in Lagos on Monday.
The workers unions urged the federal government to instead allow the NPA to retain seventy percent of its proceeds to order the agency carry out modernisation and repairs of the country’s ports facilities that are in need of upgrade.
President of SSASCGOC, Comrade Akinola Bodunde, and President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, expressed discontentment at the directive of the Federal Ministry of Finance in a circular titled Ref FMFCME/OTHERS/IGR/CFR/21/2023 and dated December 28, 2023, and addressed to Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies/Parastatals on the automatic deduction of 50 percent from their internally generated revenue.
Bodunde expressed concerns over the likely consequence such a measure will put agencies of government affirming that a 50 per cent deduction would lead to financial strain and operational disruption, particularly for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
“We have carefully studied this circular, especially as it relates to or affects the Nigerian Ports Authority, and hastened to express our displeasure over the same on the following grounds:.
“Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is a self-funded government agency that receives zero allocation from the government budget, and taking a chunk of 50 per cent 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.
“Constant Dredging of Our Port Channels: Our channels are probably the shallowest in the West Africa Sub-region, especially the Eastern Ports channels. They require constant dredging, without which vessels cannot be easily piloted to berth. Dredging of the Ports channels requires a huge financial outlay. This will be pretty difficult to achieve when 50 per cent of NPA’s internally generated revenue is removed. The resultant effect will lead to ship owners diverting their vessels to our neighbouring countries, where ease of doing business is provided.