By Godspower Edoza
The Niger Delta Youth Coalition (NDYC) has commended the managements of Intels Nigeria Limited (INL) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for working towards amicable resolution of the dispute between both organisations over remittance of funds accruing from a boat service agreement into the Treasure Single Account (TSA).
Speaking with a House of Representatives panel on TSA on Wednesday, NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman had hinted that both organisations were on the path of resolving the dispute, which had led to a threat by NPA to cancel the boat service contract with Intels.
NDYC National Coordinator, Chizi Amadike in a statement on Friday said the development was a welcome relief, as it would save the jobs of thousands of Niger Deltans.
He said, “We thank the NPA Managing Director for her maturity and for accepting the olive branch extended by the management of Intels.
“We also commend Intels, especially the Chairman, Mr. Gabriele Volpi, for stepping into the matter and ensuring amicable resolution of the crisis.
“Businesses and government agencies should always work in harmony and when there are disputes, which are inevitable in commercial transactions, leaders should be able to sit together and resolve such disputes for the benefit of the economy.”
Amadike said the operation of Intels was crucial to Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta region because it is one of the highest employers of labour in the region.
Several organisations including the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and the House of Representatives have advised NPA against terminating its pilotage agreement with Intels.
President of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, told newsmen in Lagos that termination of the agreement will not only throw thousands of workers into the labour market, but also adversely affect their families and other dependents.
He said, “Today, we are aware that Intels has over 5,000 direct employees and over 6,000 indirect employees, which makes it up to 11,000 workers.
“Most of these employees are Nigerians with families and responsibilities.
“We are worried that if this issue is not resolved amicably, their jobs can be on the line.”
Adeyanju said the socio-economic implication of most of the workers losing their jobs in a volatile area like Rivers State would have a negative impact.
He added that the union was also worried over the negative message the contract cancellation would send to investors locally and internationally.
“We want to advice the government to avoid anything that will send wrong signals to investors that Nigeria’s environment is not safe and conducive for business,” he said.
In October, the House of Representatives directed the Nigerian Ports Authority to reinstate the Intels contract due to its impact on job creation and the economy.
The House gave the directive following the adoption of a motion was raised under matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Diri Duoye.
Duoye while leading the debate urged the federal government to return to status quo to avoid injury to the workers of the company.
“About 7000 Nigerians work for INTELS and terminating the contract will have negative effects on local content and will lead to unemployment,” he said.
Also in support of the motion, another lawmaker, Hon. Ekpo Attah said the motion is important and “status quo” should be maintained.
“Intels employs a lot of people. I submit that this motion is very pertinent and Intels should be returned,” Attah stated.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.