By Simeon Mpamugoh
A critical stakeholder in the maritime industry, Salami Ishola, has lamented unfair treatment of stakeholders in the industry by various governments’ traffic policies despite their contributions to the growth of the economy.
Ishola was the chair at the inaugural meeting of the Maritime Stakeholders Forum (MSF) in Lagos which comprised various heads of maritime organisations and unions set up to address pressing issues confronting the maritime industry.
“We contribute to the economy of this country but we are being treated unfairly in the course of doing our legitimate business by the different kinds of task forces in operation till date.”
Chairman Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Remi Ogungbemi, said that the objective of the forum was to make all stakeholders come up with creative ideas and to speak with one voice.
“We want to see how we can come up with creative ideas on how to move the industry forward. We have been fighting differently without achieving any desirable outcome against the adverse effects of government traffic policies because we are too disunited.
“It is high time we come together to have a common position that we can present to the Authority in the best interest of the industry. United we stand, divided we fall”.
Ogungbemi also lent his voice to the use of task force as solution to traffic quagmire in Apapa/Tincan Road axis saying, “it has not yielded any positive results in the past.
“I don’t think setting up of task forces will be the only solution that government should always be coming up with to solve traffic problem. There are other ways especially when it has to do with technology,” Ogungbemi said.
In a communiqué rolled out at the end of the meeting, in Apapa Lagos, the forum calls for the notification of government on the formation of the group as an umbrella body of maritime critical stakeholders for the promotion and protection of interests of members.
It said unequivocal no to imposition of task force by both state and Federal Government as solution to traffic menace.
The communique unanimously support the adoption of NPA/TTP “ eto” automation system adding that NPA/TTP should recognise and carry along all garages in implementing the “ eto” automation system.
Pending the commencement of TTP “ eto” automation system, it tasks Nigerian Ports Authority NPA to spread the ongoing manual call-up arrangement across garages. It calls for the formation of Maritime Stakeholders Surveillance Committee to assess and take position on adverse effects of any Government Traffic policies that are detrimental to the business interests and concerns of the maritime industry as well as the downwards review of shipping demurrage on empty containers.
One of the participants and the National Organizing Secretary, Council Of Maritime Truck Unions And Association, (COMTUA) Prince Adeyinka Aroyewun said, “If the manual call up system is not working now, no automation system can work. I think at the appropriate time, we have to take our business and destiny on our hands. We need action to enforce the process to work.” End