The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the oil and gas logistics firm, Intels Nigeria Limited, have been urged to resolve their differences amicably.
Two groups, Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA) and Rivers Progressive Youths Forum (RPYF), made this appeal.
NPA, in a March 29 letter, terminated its boats pilotage monitoring and supervision agreement with Intels based on Article 8 (C) of its February 11, 2011 agreement with Intels.
NPA accused Intels of failing to remit $145,849,309.33, being outstanding service boat revenue generated from November 1, 2017 to last October 31 into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
But Intels denied the allegation, claiming that NPA owed it more than $750 million.
NIIA President Godwin Onyekachi told The Nation that the matter should be resolved in the interest of government and Intel workers.
Onyekachi said the contract has enhanced NPA’s revenue and plugged leakages in the system.
He said: “I think we have gone through this before. Recall that the same matter played out in 2017 and I remember issuing a press statement, urging NPA and Intels to shift grounds and seek amicable solution to the impasse, which they both did. I was, therefore, surprised that less than two years after the issue was resolved, it has reared its head again.
“I must point out that disputes are not unusual in commercial transactions of this nature, but when such disputes arise, parties involved must seek amicable resolution through dialogue and proven dispute resolution mechanisms.
“This is even important in this particular matter because thousands of jobs are at stake. Between 2015 and now, more than 10,000 Intels workers have been rendered redundant due to these unfortunate back-and- forth move.
“Even if it is for the interest of the remaining 5,000 workers of the company, the government should amicably resolve this matter. There is no job anywhere, so no sacrifice can be too much in saving these 5,000 jobs. Look at the huge army of unemployed youths we have in this country, especially in the Niger Delta region. We shouldn’t push more people out into the labour market.
“Also, Nigeria needs a lot of foreign direct investments to grow her economy at this critical time. The economy will not grow without foreign investments, but when potential investors see how investors are treated, they may not be encouraged to bring their money and expertise into our environment,” Onyekachi argued.
Also, RPYF General Secretary, Austin Tamuno asked President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the face-off to save small businesses and employment in Rivers State.
He said:“Apart from several employees of the company, many small businesses in Rivers State rely on Intels, and anything that befalls Intels will affect those businesses.”