Workers at the nation’s seaportsare on the brink of a showdown with the federal government over its proposal to slash internally generated revenue (IGR) by 50% from Federal Government Owned Enterprises (FGOE), particularly targeting the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies Branch (SSASCGOC) and the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have issued a joint stern warning, signaling the possibility of nationwide strike if the government proceeds with its plan.
At a joint press briefing held in Lagos on Monday the unions made their stance unequivocally clear, condemning the directive issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance. The unions informed that a letter of protest to the President has been written to that effect.
Com. Akinola Bodunde, speaking on behalf of the unions, minced no words in expressing their outrage and frustration over the potential consequences of such a drastic measure.
He said the deduction will lead to financial strain and operational disruption; even as he highlighted the dire financial implications of the proposed deduction, particularly for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
He explained that with the NPA being a self-funded entity reliant on its IGR, a 50% reduction would spell disaster for its operational capabilities.
He said 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.
He added that the deduction is a threat to workforce and community relations. Moreover, he said the proposed deduction poses a significant threat to workforce development and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
On his part, the President General MWUN Com. Adewale Adeyanju said a well-trained workforce is essential for efficient port operations, explaining that the reduction in revenue would hinder investment in employee training and welfare.
Additionally, he noted that the NPA’s ability to fulfill its obligations to host communities could be jeopardized, potentially leading 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.
He suggested a 30% reduction instead of 50%. 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.