*NPA MD Laments Poor Salary Scheme
*NIMASA Directors earn more than NPA, Shippers’ Council bosses
*Why CVFF may never be disbursed
By Kenneth Jukpor
The impending transformation of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) into the National Transport Commission (NTC) is set to launch the employees at the agency into a new financial haven with 100 per cent increment in salaries as part of the changes.
Already, the new salary structure has been endorsed by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission(NSIWC), with the full approval of the authorizing authorities in the country, a source in the Council has confirmed to MMS Plus.
Workers spoken to at the Council on the development, were excited as the new salary package is expected to commence in weeks.
Among the nation’s transport sector parastatals, Shippers’ Council workforce were not enjoying bogus remunerations and allowances compared to sister agencies like the Nigerian Ports Authority and the biggest earners, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
However, in a related development, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms. Hadiza Bala- Usman has decried the poor salary scale at the Authority even as she revealed that a Director at NIMASA earns more than NPA’s helmsman.
Hadiza who was speaking during an exclusive chat with MMS Plus revealed that she was taking steps to improve the salary structure at the Authority.
Since the last salary increment was endorsed for NIMASA in 2007, no transport agency has been able to get a better package and the man who championed that effort even as an employee with NPA, Chief Michael Ajayi spoke to MMS Plus on this development.
Chief Ajayi who retired as the General Manager, Corporate Communications at NPA, said the proposed increment for Shippers’ Council staff as the agency transforms into NTC was a welcome development even as he anticipated similar moves by NPA to get salary increment.
“100 percent salary increment is a good development for the Council. The NPA management is also concerned about increasing the salaries of staff but the process of getting it is laborious. Immediately Hadiza Bala-Usman resumed office she said that she was keen on improving the welfare of workers. I also understand that she had a town-hall meeting at Bode-Thomas in Lagos and also made a commitment of improving their salaries as the number one welfare officer. I’m aware that she has set the motion to get this done. If Shippers’ Council can get this, you can be sure the NPA Managing Director would not rest until NPA also gets an increment” he said.
Ajayi recalled his time as a new General Manager at NPA in 2007; “I came from the financial sector and I recall that when asked what I was bringing in from my field, I said that NPA salary was poor because since 2003, salaries in the civil service sector had been poor. At that time we had lost about 9,000 workers and morale of the workers was at the lowest ebb. So, we had to set up a committee to work on salary review and within a month the report was done and the executive management approved it. The journey to Abuja to get the ministerial approval was done by me. I was in Abuja for a long time defending every component of that report at various stages before it was eventually passed and not one kobo was cut out. It was approved just as we prepared it.”
“After we achieved this, NIMASA came to seek my services for a new salary scheme at NIMASA and I gave them some ideas which they also used to upgrade their salaries too and that was the last salary upgrade in the sector” he said.
Ajayi noted that the rate of inflation in the country compels any well meaning Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to push for salary increase. However, he maintained that the population of NIMASA’s workforce gives the agency the edge to provide better financial incentives than NPA.
“NIMASA has a workforce which is less than 2,000 while NPA’s is about 5,000; so there is a wide gap. NIMASA has the privilege to increase salaries but when the same increment is done in NPA because of the number of people the sum runs into several billions. You have to look at the percentage of revenue generated vis-à-vis the amount paid as salary and you also have to factor the sustainability of that salary scheme”, Ajayi opined.
Why CVFF may never be disbursed
More frightening facts have emerged as reasons the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) may never be disbursed as part of the conditions demand that the Cabotage vessels have to be built in Nigeria.
The President of Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS), Rev. Jonathan Nicol revealed this during an exclusive chat with MMS Plus last week.
“The Act that sets up the CVFF says you can only have access to that fund if your vessel is built in Nigeria. We shouldn’t make policies that are not workable. We don’t have a company that builds vessels; so that clause is a bad clause. Without that clause people should be able to access that fund but the existence of that clause means CVFF is inaccessible” Nicol said.
Nicol equally lamented that the private entrepreneurs in Nigeria haven’t been able to come together under a uniform umbrella to challenge the government, take key decisions for the industry and make the government realize the benefits and implications of such decisions.
Meanwhile, in a recent stakeholders’ meeting, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside reiterated that the disbursement of CVFF was beyond NIMASA. He posited that the onus rests squarely on the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi.
Dakuku who had become weary of frequent attacks from the media and other stakeholders revealed that he had engaged Amaechi on several occasions to change the modalities for the disbursement of CVFF.
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