The Nigerian Maritime Pilot Association, (NMPA), an affiliate of the International Maritime Pilot Association, (IMPA), has called for the payment of accrued Footage allowances being owed them.
Footage allowances are monies paid by shipping companies through the Port authorities of countries.
NMPA also said that marine pilots working for the Nigerian Ports Authority are being owed three years footage allowances.
According to the group, many of their colleagues have died waiting for the footage payment to be effected, wondering how many more will die before the allowances are paid.
Spokesperson for the group, Kamal Inglis said despite COVID-19, pilots are the first people to interface with vessels and their crew even before port health officials, noting that these pilots are not even protected against the Coronavirus in the course of their duties.
“These monies are paid by shipping companies but in custody of the Nigerian Ports Authority, who are supposed to pass these monies onto the pilots. There is no need to hold on to the money.
“The Footage allowances have been appropriated over the years and contained in the Condition of Service of the Nigerian Ports Authority under the Salaries and Allowances sub head.”
Under section 06.06 of the Condition of Service: Footage Allowance shall be payable to pilots at the applicable rate upon completion of the verification process. It was also gathered that at a point in time, pilots were not getting their dues until the current Managing Director of the agency assumed duty and ordered that the prevailing rates should be used in effecting the payment of pilots,” he said.
They also frowned at the staggered payment of pilots across ports formation in the country, saying this is the first time that the payment of footage allowance is becoming an issue, as past administrations have always paid the allowances with ease.
“This payment is included in the billing system of the NPA and these bills are processed and computerized by the tariff and billing department.”
Reacting to the development, an aide in the office of the Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity admitted the fact that the agency owed the pilots their footage allowances, adding that it had to stop the payment of the allowances because it detected a fraud in the payment process.
The aide also said that a committee has been set up to look into the fraudulent activities that marred the process before it was suspended.
Meanwhile, female members of the group have appealed to the NPA MD to look into the non payment of the allowances, saying their homes are greatly affected by the delay.