Maritime workers have issued a warning of a potential nationwide strike if the Federal Government proceeds with its plan to automatically deduct 50% from the revenue earned by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
This caution was conveyed in a joint statement by the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Lagos.
The statement, signed by the Presidents of both unions, Mr. Akinola Bodunde and Mr. Adewale Adeyanju respectively, highlighted that they have already sent a letter to the President concerning this matter.
The unions emphasized that if the decision is not reversed, it will result in the withdrawal of workers and a complete shutdown of ports across the country.
They are advocating for a 30% deduction from NPA’s revenue instead of the proposed 50%.
- “Automatic deduction of 50% of its internally generated revenue shall leave the Authority financially incapacitated to discharge these responsibilities to the host community, which may lead them to resort to unhealthy activities.
- “We recommend that 30% of the revenue internally generated by the Authority could be automatically deducted whilst 70% is left for the Authority to accomplish its overhead costs and statutory responsibilities, failure of which the Union would have no other option than to withdraw the services of its members from all Ports formations nationwide,” the statement read in part.
- Speaking on behalf of the union, Mr. Akinola Bodunde, President of SASCGOC, emphasized the significant financial consequences that such a deduction would have on the operational capabilities of the NPA.
- Bodunde clarified that as the NPA relies on its internally generated revenue (IGR), a 50% reduction would severely impact its operational abilities.
- He pointed out that the decrease in revenue could endanger vital maritime operations such as dredging port channels and maintaining infrastructure, ultimately affecting vessel traffic and port activities.
- Bodunde also highlighted the risks to workforce development and community relations due to the potential outcomes of the proposed deduction.
- Additionally, Mr. Adewale Adeyanju, President General of MWUN, stressed the importance of a well-trained workforce for efficient port operations. Adeyanju voiced concerns that the decrease in revenue could impede investment in employee training and welfare.
- He expressed worry over the NPA’s ability to fulfil its obligations to host communities, warning that this could lead to unrest and social upheaval.
- Subsequently, the MWUN president issued an ultimatum to the government, demanding a revision of the directive to allow for a more reasonable deduction from internally generated revenue.
- The Federal Ministry of Finance, in a circular dated December 28, 2023, and signed by Minister Wake Edun, instructed the creation of new Treasury Single Account (TSA) sub-accounts for federal agencies/parastatals, emphasizing compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
- The said circular directed all fully funded Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to remit 100% of their internally generated revenue (IGR) to the New Treasury Account Sub-Recurrent Account.
- On the other hand, partially funded agencies would remit 50% of their IGR to the Sub-Recurrent Account.
- The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) are some of the partially funded agencies expected to remit 50% of their generated revenue to the federation account.
- Additionally, all statutory revenues, including tender fees and asset sales, are to be remitted 100% to the sub-recurrent account.
- The initiative, as indicated in the circular, aims to boost revenue generation, enforce fiscal discipline, and enhance transparency in government financial management.