Fuel subsidy removal protesters
By John Iwori and Obinna Chima
Maritime and shipping experts Wednesday said the nation would have lost about N36 billion due to the on-going nation-wide strike called by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit (PMS).
Equally, about N250 billion was also said to be lost at the interbank market at the end of the third day of the on-going protest.
THISDAY checks revealed that Customs Commands in Lagos and its environs were believed to have lost over N6 billion in revenue since the strike started on Monday.
Confirming the development, an indigenous ship owner, Captain Niyi Labinjo, stated that Nigeria was losing huge amount of money daily in the maritime sector of the economy.
Labinjo who is also the General Secretary of the Indigenous Ship owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), however noted that the strike was for the common good of Nigerians.
National Co-ordinator, Local Content Shipping Group, Dr. Martins Enebeli, however, stated that Nigerians should not lament what we are losing daily since the country has nothing to show for what it collected over the years.
His words: “Forget about what we are losing daily. What did we do with what we have gotten before? What did we use it for? The seven per cent surcharge on port development that they have accumulated for the past 10 years what has that money been used for?”
On his part, President of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Dockworkers Branch, Mr. Adewale Adeyanju, who said the ports were still shut, disclosed that the union was waiting for directives from NLC to open the seaports for operations.
He contended that as long as the strike continues, all stakeholders in the maritime sector of the economy, including terminals operators, shipping companies, licensed customs agents, ship brokers, government agencies and others who have business with the nations seaports are losing money though in varying quantity.
Meanwhile, an anonymous source at the Financial Market Dealers Association (FMDA), put the amount of the lose suffered at the Nigerian Inter Bank Offered Rate (NIBOR) arm of the market during the past three days at N50 billion. He also put the combined amount that would have been lost at the forex, treasury bills, bonds and commercial paper segments of the interbank market at N200 billion.
He said: “The economy is bleeding and don’t think it is the best for all of us. Deposit Money Banks across the country, and even Lagos State, the commercial centre of the country, had been shut down since Monday as a result of the ongoing protest and strike by labour and civil society groups over the fuel subsidy removal.”
The Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ancoria Investment and Securities Limited, Dr. Olusola Dada, insisted that the performance of the economy would be greatly hurt by the ongoing dispute.
Dada, who spoke in a telephone interview with THISDAY yesterday, urged the president to negotiate with labour. According to him, following the history of strike in the country, the Federal Government had to have gone into dialogue with labour after the second day of the strike.
“One would have expected that the president will direct his relevant ministers to go and negotiate with labour. For him to continue to keep silence is not the best for the economy at all. It is not the Senate president that should be negotiating with labour at this time because he does not have the power to implement whatever comes out of the negotiation. We expect the executive to be the one leading on this.
“The current situation implies that the economy is losing heavily. International flights cannot take off or come in, banks other business have been shut since Monday. This is definitely going to negatively affect both domestic and international investments in the country. The impression is that Nigeria is not a stable country,” he argued.
Meanwhile, THISDAY findings showed that the Central of Nigeria’s (CBN) carried out the second session of its Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS) Wednesday. The regulator offered a total of $200 million to dealers. However, just like Monday’s auction, the apex bank did not reveal the number of demand at the auction.