The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria and Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies maritime branch have issued a warning that they will close down the country’s seaports if the Federal Government proceeds with its plan to cut by 50 per cent the internally generated revenues from the Federal Government-owned enterprises especially Nigerian Ports Authority.
The unions, while addressing journalists in Apapa on Monday, condemned the directive issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance on December 28, 2023, which was addressed to all federal ministries, departments, and agencies/parastatals on the automatic deduction of 50 per cent from their internally generated revenue.
Recall that in a move to plug leakages and shore up revenue, the Federal Government had in January directed the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to immediately commence the presidential directives on 50 per cent automatic deduction from the internally generated revenue of Federal Government-owned enterprises.
The directive was contained in a circular issued by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun.
The circular titled, “Re: Implementation of the Presidential Directives on 50% Automatic Deduction from Internally Generated Revenue of Federal Government Owned Enterprises (FGOEs),” was dated December 28, 2023.
However, the unions added that they had already written to President Bola Tinubu to express their discontent with the presidential directive.
The President of SSASCGOC, Akinola Bodunde, claimed the implementation of the directive would lead to financial strain and operational disruption for the agencies.
Bodunde highlighted the financial implications of the proposed deduction, particularly for the Nigerian Ports Authority.
He explained that NPA being a self-funded entity reliant on its IGR, a 50 per cent reduction would spell disaster for its operational capabilities.
The SSASCGOC president added that tasks vital to maritime operations, such as dredging port channels and maintaining infrastructure, would be severely compromised, leading to potential disruptions in vessel traffic and port activities.
“The deduction is a threat to workforce and community relations. The proposed deduction poses a significant threat to workforce development and corporate social responsibility initiatives.”
On his part, the President-General of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, said a trained workforce is essential for efficient port operations.
He explained that the reduction in revenue would hinder investment in employee training and welfare.
Additionally, he noted that the NPA’s ability to fulfil its obligations to host communities could be jeopardised and would potentially lead to unrest and social upheaval.
Adeyanju, thereafter, issued an ultimatum to the government, demanding a revision of the directive to allow for a more reasonable deduction from IGR.
“I am suggesting a 30 per cent reduction instead of 50 per cent,” he remarked.
He expressed that should their demands not be met, they vowed to mobilize their members for nationwide strike action, effectively shutting down port operations across the country.