Maritime workers want review of import policy to boost revenue



Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), has called on the Federal Government to review the import policies that have forced importers out of business, to generate more revenue for the country, following declining income from crude oil.

The call was made recently in Lagos, at a two-day workshop with the theme: “Managing Crisis, Change and Industrial Relations in Nigeria Dock Industry: The Role of Shop Stewards in Supporting Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria to win on Key Issues.”

The President-General of MWUN, Anthony Emmanuel Nted, said these policies are having adverse effect on operators in the sector, saying that the situation is also affecting dockworkers’ income as their monthly take home is based on the volume of work done at the ports.

The workshop, which was organised by the MWUN in conjunction with the International Transport Workers Federation, IFT, had in attendance the Secretary of ITF, Dockworkers Section, and Sharon James.

According to Nted, the government’s unfavourable import policies had led to “Reduced job opportunities arising from fewer ships now calling at our ports due to the effect of the global recession on Nigeria’s economy, which has exposed our dockworkers to serious hardship. The current import policies in Nigeria discourage importation and reduce traffic flow in our country, also negatively affect the average wage/earners of the dockworkers.”

The President-General explained that “the workshop provides a unique opportunity for the leadership of IFT Dockers Section to meet and interact with our dockworkers unit chairmen, the shop stewards. I encourage the unit chairmen to make maximum use of the interactive section to exchange ideas and improve their knowledge on global industrial relations practice.”

He said some of the challenges facing dockworkers included the suspension of the operation of the central gear store system by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, when it handed over port operations to private terminal operators. This followed the concessioning of the port, leading to poor kitting of dockworkers in the performance of the duties.

Other challenges are lack of adequate provision of medical facility, as contained in the concession agreement and failure of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, to monitor and prevent the use of unregistered dockworkers by some terminal operators and private jetties owners, denying them employment opportunity.

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