- Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani
By Anthony Nwachukwu
For a hitch-free business relationship, the Federal Government has stressed the need for international oil companies (IOCs) to respect the laws of the country, and as well prioritise the welfare of maritime workers.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, made the request Friday night in Lagos during the end-of-year dinner/gala night of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN).
Ajani, who represented the Minister, Mu’azu Sambo, asked the IOCs, which she noted now includes the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) as a private liability company, to “play by the rules.”
“It is unfair for you to decide how you want to do business with my country despite the constitution and rules of my country,” Ajani said. “Some of us may not be able to keep silent over it as long as you run contrary to what my country says in doing business.
“We also plead with you to support our agencies and pay them for the services they have rendered, because there is no way we can continue to support you if you don’t pay us for the services we have rendered.
“We want to have good relationship, we want to support you to get the best of your business, but you should also consider us that are providing services for you.”
She added: “More importantly, you need to prioritise the welfare of the maritime workers, because in this year alone, we have done a lot of mediation just to make sure that they don’t down tools.
“So, please, IOCs, NNPC, kindly follow the footsteps of SOAN that tries to make sure that the welfare of maritime workers is prioritised.”
Earlier in his welcome address, SOAN President, Dr. McGeorge Onyung, commended NIMASA and navy, saying that without peace, safety, security, calm, nothing can work.
He further thanked NIMASA for getting the NNPC to allow indigenous vessels to work in the industry, thereby changing the narrative of past decades “when only foreign companies were working for Nigeria while we just looked on like lucozade.
“Now our members are in that contract and trying to settle down, in spite of the hiccups, and in the end we will be able to benefit from the ocean.”
Onyung urged members to cooperate and draw down the CVFF to enhance the nation’s economic prosperity through non-oil export, explaining that if NNPC produces crude oil for export, shipping produces non-oil export through freight, because when crude oil is exported, the shipping aspect is non-oil export.