Home Business 20 shipping companies shut operations in Nigeria

20 shipping companies shut operations in Nigeria

by Business News Report

MARITIME Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, yesterday, said  no fewer than 20 shipping companies, had shut operations in Nigeria due to unfavourable government’ policies, leading to the retrenchment of over 3000 workers in the last one year.

At a briefing, President-General of the  union, Mr. Anthony Emmanuel  Nted, among other things, lamented that the jobs of over 2000 workers were also on the line and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene to save the sector from imminent collapse.

Nted contended that the recent increase in imports tariffs and ban on importation of essential commodities had forced shipping companion and importers out of business in Nigeria and relocated to neighbouring ports.

He called on President Buhari to immediately wade in and reduce the tariffs on importation of essential goods such as rice, cars, trucks’ wheat, motor spare parts, industrial machinery among others in the interest of the masses before things went out of hands. MWUN PG, argued that the ban on the goods had encouraged smuggling, diversion of ships to neighbouring countries, idle ports, retrenchment of workers, unemployment and general loss of revenue to government.

According to him: ” We wish to state that as a result of the government policies which banned the importation of some essential commodities into the country, about 3000 workers who are members of the Union have been by retrenched by shipping companies, terminal operators and logistics companies in the Maritime sector. Also, about 20 shipping companies have left the shore of the country because of low traffic.”

Nted who declined to name the affected shipping companies, saying they were verifiable in the ports, however warned that many more shipping companies were on the verge of leaving and were only doing skeletal services at the moment.

Continuing, he said:” Today, we lament the action of the management of Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, in also planning to sack a section of the Dockworkers especially the Tally Clerks and Onboard Security men in spite of their importance and relevance in the Port operations, as it affects the reoccurring scourge of tonnage under declaration and its negative impact on the nation’s economy. The leakage of revenue through under declaration of tonnage should be seriously tackled. In this regard, we reiterate that Tally Clerks and Onboard Security men should be allowed to continue the critical job of uncovering and discouraging under tonnage which is often done with unholy collaboration of NPA, shipping companies, agents and terminal operators. The Tally Clerks and onboard security men are capable of preventing these economic crimes as they were doing through their independent and physical tallying process. Over 2000 workers(Tally clerks and onboard security men) are involved. Their reinstatement will go a long way in reducing the number of unemployed Nigerians, and also reducing the misery of their families.”

The union demanded among others that “All access roads to the ports as a matter of urgency, should be expanded and rehabilitated to handle cargo traffic in our ports. The traditional rail operations in our seaports should be restored to reduce the pressure on our highways and daily fatal accidents and deaths from containers. Waterways should be developed for delivery of laden containers and heavy equipment through our coastal waters into the hinterland.  The tank-farms which are now dangerously located close to the ports, residential areas and along the expressways and access roads close to the ports should be relocated far away from the seaports to starve-off the perennial gridlocks on the roads.

“The volume of vehicles imported into Nigeria through Nigerian ports has collapsed to an all-time low, with consequent loss of thousands of jobs in the maritime sector. The new duty regime for vehicles introduced since 2004 and application of the new rate of exchange for duty calculations have made the importation of cars and trucks into Nigeria far too expensive. In the last two years, the number of vehicles arriving Nigeria has shrunk by almost two third, while the volume of cars smuggled through Cotonou Border has continued to rise unabated. It is therefore necessary that the Federal Government reviews its stance on the Automative  policy not to inflict any more suffering on the workers who are already having hard time with price increases every day.

“The Federal Government should look at making the importation of cars and trucks more competitive to enable the economy to grow. A significant reduction in the duties applicable on cars and trucks will go a long way to alleviating the challenges of our people and spurs economic activities. Government should as a matter of urgency adopt policies towards resuscitating the export of agricultural produces and mineral resources that were hitherto the main stay of Nigerian economy before the discovery of oil. This will no doubt create jobs in our seaports and increase revenue for the government.”



Related Posts