ABUJA – As Nigerian workers commemorate 2023 International Workers’ Day, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigerian (MWUN) has charged the incoming administration to ensure strict enforcement of the local content policy to stop multinational companies in the maritime sector from bringing in foreigners to take over jobs meant for Nigerian workers.
Speaking during the workers’ day celebration held at the Eagle Square in Abuja on Monday, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju decried how multinational companies flout Nigerian laws with impunity, saying the local content law has not been effective in the maritime sector.
He said, “What Nigerians can do why are you bringing an expatriate to come and take over our job? Some operators will bring in an accountant from another country when there are so many Nigerians that can do the job better than the foreigners.
“That is why we are saying that the government must look into the law of local content. We are not saying the foreigners should not come and invest in our country but they should respect the laws of the land. Impunity is always the order of the day in the maritime sector.
“You remember the issue of onboard security men and tally clerks that we have been on the matter for the past five to six years and nothing has been done.
“Also, the International Oil Companies (IOCs) who believe and act with impunity, the minister will give directives and the IOCs will not obey the law so this incoming administration must be visible in the maritime sector.”
Adeyanju, who doubles as the Deputy President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) said workers faced a lot of challenges and suffered under the President Buhari led administration because the government was not visible enough in the maritime sector.
He urged the incoming administration to pay close attention to the maritime sector and ensure better welfare for workers.
“The workers have suffered a lot in the hands of the outgoing government so this coming administration should do better. The outgoing administration was not visible enough in the port, giving so much authority to the employers of labour who have no regards for the workers in the maritime sector.
“For example, before now we used to have issues of accident victims in the port and throughout the year, we have the ministry of labour interfering in the accident that happens in the port, but the way it is now the aspect of having a representative of Labour in the port is no longer there, the terminal operators have taken over responsibility of the judge and the jury.
“Worker’s welfare should be the priority of the new coming administration so you don’t sell our ports to foreigners. It is because you met responsible transformed workers that is why we are able to manage the terminals on behalf of the federal government.
“So, we are using this medium to call on the incoming administration that they should be more proactive and as well look into the welfare of the workers because the workers that are well enumerated will perform,” he said.
Adeyanju, however, commended private terminal operators at the nation’s seaport for their efforts at improving the welfare of workers saying that the working condition of an average maritime worker have improved to about 80 percent.
Earlier in his address, President of NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero called on the Federal Government to upgrade the nation’s economy by applying proper monetary and fiscal policies for successful economic systems.
He said Nigeria has unfortunately become a country led by men and women whose delight seems to be enacting policies that are detrimental to the progress of the nation.
With the 2023 Workers Day Celebration theme, ‘Workers Rights and Socioeconomic Justice’, Ajaero explained that Nigeria’s economy was on auto pilot, struggling on its own to survive.
He decried the attitude of those entrusted to manage the country’s economy for throwing filth and injecting toxins into it.
Ajaero said the system was serially abused and had, therefore, become one of the most mismanaged world economies.
“All the key macro-economic variables are not promising with inflation at double digits, and unemployment worsening and rising.
“And at nearly 40 per cent with youth unemployment, very high at 65 per cent, while the exchange rate depreciates steeply and debt stock continues to rise.
“The two keyboard instruments for a successful management of any economy as experts have pointed out remain having the right mix of Monetary Policies and Fiscal policies.”
The monetary and fiscal policies, Ajaero said, were supposed to work in sync to create an effective and a successful economic system, but to all intents and purposes, the reverse was the case in Nigeria’s system.
“The structures ought to complement each other, but not to oppose each other. It is this complementarity that serves as the keel and rudder that keeps it balanced and sailing even in the midst of choppy waters.
“In a nutshell, when there is a structural dissociation, the economy experiences schisms and suffers dislocations that must be corrected for system balance and sustenance,” he said.
The NLC president, however, commended the CBN’s currency redesigning efforts, saying it was a good policy, but was badly managed as it was not properly coordinated, especially with other structures of governance.