IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW VEHICLE TARIFF: Maritime workers threaten industrial action

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has said that it will not allow the sudden implementation of the new tariff on imported vehicles by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to stand.

Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the Union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Friday in Lagos, President General of the Union, Comrade Anthony Nted, said that as long as the local automotive industry is yet to stand on its feet, the union will resist its implementation.

He expressed anger that despite the outcry of Nigerians and efforts by maritime stakeholders to get the government rescind its unpopular rice and vehicle tariff policies, the NCS commenced implementation of the increased tariff on imported vehicles even before the 1st July deadline.

“We heard that the implementation is going to take place by July but we heard that Customs has started the implementation. I don’t know how it works. We will find out if that is true, the Maritime Workers Union will do everything we can to resist that policy. The best thing we do to draw the attention of the government to these policies that are inimical to the existence of the Nigerian people is for us to call our workers out of service after every option has failed,” Nted said.

The union leader said that true to his prediction, 2014 has so far been a very difficult year for the maritme industry noting that “if only government will change some of these policies at the end of the year, we will begin to smile to get into the 2015.”

He said that the enactment of obnoxious policies by the Federal Government has was a major source of concern for his union.

Also discussed during the meeting was the menace of petroleum tankers on the Apapa/Oshodi Express road and on port access roads.

Nted had said in his speech during the meeting that petroleum tankers’ dominance of port access roads have “compromised the efficiency and service delivery level of our ports and inflicted an avoidable loss of man-hour on the maritime industry and the economy in general.”

He blamed the plethora of tank farms around the seaports in Lagos for the uncontrollable presence of tankers on roads leading to the ports.

Nted demanded the immediate removal of the tank farms from the port environment.

“We have repeatedly called for the relocation of the tank farms from Tin Can and Apapa for safety of lives and properties and economic reasons.

“Although the government has earlier promised to relocate these tank farms from their present sites, we are surprised that they have not done so yet. For us the time for the relocation is now,” Nted stated.