By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, has said that the authority has agreed to pay footage allowances to its marine pilots.
The allowance is paid to marine pilots for successful delivery of vessels pilotage to berths from the territorial waters.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Reports on the side of the recently concluded meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of Nigerian maritime institutions, Bala-Usman said that part of what was being owed the pilots were paid recently adding that the balance will be processed through the Salaries and Wages Commission.
She stated: “We have made payment of a percentage of the budgetary availability for this year and the balance will be determined by the Salaries and Wages Commission because we have been directed that all allowances that are paid to staff should be contained within their salaries.
“So now those footage allowances will be computed and transferred into their quarterly take home so that they are paid automatically as part of their remuneration.”
Recall that the Nigerian Maritime Pilot Association, NMPA, an affiliate of the International Maritime Pilot Association, IMPA, about four months ago, began an agitation for the payment of accrued footage allowances being owed them by the NPA over the past three years.
According to the group, many of their colleagues have died waiting for the footage allowances, wondering how many more will die before the allowances are paid.
Spokesperson for the group, Kamal Inglis, said despite Coronavirus (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 COVID-19 in the course of their duties.
According to him, “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.’’