The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has paid N500million to stevedoring companies to pay salaries and wages of their workers, it was gathered yesterday.

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) had threatened to shut down seaports next week Monday, if the NPA  failed to pay six months outstanding salary arrears to its members.

Its President-General, Mr Tony Nted said the workers, including tally clerks and on-board security men were aggrieved over the unpaid salaries.

It was also gatherd that the money was paid by the NPA after a meeting held at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity in July this year, to resolve the issue when the dock workers threatened to down tools.

Aditional payment to the steveoring companies, sources close to NPA said, was undergoing internal processing before it was caught up by the Treasury Single Account (TSA) deadline of September 16, by the Federal Government.

Contacted, its General Manager Public Affairs, Capt Iheanacho Ebubeogu said NPA, as a law abiding  corporate  organisation has not reneged on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it singned with  labour in July.

“Well, the attention of the management of NPA has been drawn to a publication by various media on the threat by labour to go on strike from Monday October 5, predicated on  the premise that NPA has reneged on payment of the stevedoring contractual sum, from where invariably, the wages and salaries of the dick workers are paid by their employer

“We need to clarify at this juncture that these tally are employees of the stevedoring companies who ordinarily have direct obligations to pay their workers and not the NPA

“We agree that there were delay in fulfilling our obligations to these labour contractors who are the stevedores because the issue of clarification and validation came up early in the year.

“However, this was concluded at a meeting held at the Federal ministry of Labour and productivity in July this year, to resolve the issue when the labour threatened to down tools

At this meeting mode of payment was agreed upon in a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU).

“The NPA followed the process in compliance with the terms as stated in the MoU singned

“We wish to state also that all payment that have been dully processed and amounting t o over half a billion naira has been paid to the stevedoring companies.

“We wish to also state that additional payment undergoing internal processing were caught up by the Treasury Single Account (TSA) deadline of September 16,” the image maker said.

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