Minister Charges Terminal Operators On Compliance
- NPA Workers Set For Showdown With Govt.
The sliding value of the naira and low import volume into Nigeria may spell doom for the country as there are indications that terminal operations may down size their work force even as the Minister of transport, Sen. Idris Umar says terminal operators have not been remitting dues to the government.
Meanwhile, the Senior Staff Association of Communication Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC) has also threatened to resist further concessioning of the port saying it is like giving away the treasure of the country to private individuals.
The Sea Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) recently bemoan the continuous slide in the rate of naira to the United States Dollars(USD) Saying that Terminal Handling Charges (THC) have been drastically eroded by 52%.
STOAN Chairman, Princess Vicky Haastrup in a release sent to press men recently said, “Most of our commitments are in dollars whereas we charge in naira but due to the devaluation of the naira, you will see that what we charge today is effectively 42% of its value in 2006 when you convert to the USD.
“This is significant for us because we now use more naira to fulfill our dollar commitments.
“It might be recalled that in 2006, one USD exchange for about N130 but today it is more than N220 to the dollar which implies a significant decline of about 65% in the value of the national currency since port concession” she Stated.
Meanwhile, a reliable source who is a senior staff in one of the terminals has said that the current economic hardship being faced by the terminal operators could force them to retrench some of their workers.
The source who does not want his name in print told our correspondent that most of their staff who were supposed to be on the field now sit in the office because of lack of activity on the field.
“If the trend persists, there is no way we are not going to retrench some of our workers because you cannot continue to keep them when they are no longer relevant more so, when you don’t have money to give them, “he said.
Speaking with the spokesperson of STOAN, Bolaji Akinola on the development on phone, he said the trend would not affect the workforce even though he believed that the situation is biting on the terminal operators.
He said, “No, no it will not come to that, it will not affect our workforce,” he quipped.
Consequently, importers no longer collect money from the bank for importation no longer collect money from the bank for importation business for the fear not running at loss even as some importers desert their consignments in the port thinking that they are safer in the port than the ware houses.
In another development, the senior staff union of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) have risen stoutly resist further concessioning of the part by the Federal Government.
The National President of SSACTAC, Comrade Benson Adegbeyeni told our correspondent that the government is set to concession the remaining core jobs of the NPA like pilotage, tonnage and harbor to private individuals even as he stated that the development, if allowed will throw some of their members out of jobs.
Speaking further, Adegbeyeni said. “The remaining core jobs like pilotage, tonnage, harbor are the core jobs of NPA that will bring vessel, you want to give them to private people to come and run for you; people who are not Nigerians and you say they are experts, expert what?” he asked.
This week, at a Monitoring and Compliance, 8 Years after Concessioning of the Terminals held in Lagos, the Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar while commending the success of the concessioning so far also berated the concessioners for breach of agreement.
Sen. Idris who was represented by the Executive Secretary and Chief executive Officer (ES/CEO) of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello said, “However, inspite of the achievements recorded, many of the Terminal Operators are in breach of the concession agreement in payment of various fees, infrastructural development and unwholesome practices such as: block stacking, deliberate delays in the clearing of cargoes from their terminals,” he said.