The National Association of Stevedoring Operators, on Wednesday, said that the country was losing billions of naira to International Oil Companies over a refusal to allow appointed agents of the Nigerian Ports Authority on board their platforms.
The National President of NASO, Mr Bolaji Sunmola, said this while addressing journalists in Apapa, Lagos, on Wednesday.
Explaining further he said, “Payments to dockworkers are stolen, taxes are stolen, Federal Inland Revenue Service is losing money, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is losing money. They don’t want us to have the true number of crude oil they are lifting, which is why they have not been engaging us. If you accumulate all these, it runs into billions of naira.
“Anywhere there is cargo, we go there. There are cargoes on the offshore and onshore marginal fields. And there are lots of cargo movements in these field operations. It is the work of the NPA, and the government must earn from it. These were the billions the government was losing over the years till this association came.”
Sunmola, nevertheless, denied the fraud allegations against the association.
He explained that the association was collecting N250, 000 for membership registration because it had upgraded its status.
“It is untrue that we went to the NPA to plead for them to give us slots. We sold the idea to the NPA because there is nothing we can do without the NPA. If they say they are not interested, there is nothing we can do.
“We need to train our people; we need to show our people how to be professional in offshore stevedoring. Registration was N100, 000 before, but things are changing, which prompted us to decide at the executive level to make it N250, 000. It doesn’t have anything to do with the NPA.
“This is a professional body and we worked hard to get from the onshore to offshore level. It was not an easy thing to convince the IOCs because they are even fighting us, saying that we have not job there and that there is no stevedoring activity there. When you talk about stevedoring, people think it ends at the ports. There are lots of operations there and there is also cargo handling.
“We sold the idea to NPA because there is nothing we can do without the NPA. If they say they are not interested, there is nothing we can do,” he concluded.