- Lagos ATBOWATON welcomes new ‘Marine and Blue Economy’ ministry
Following the tough economic times resulting from the removal of fuel subsidy, boat operators in Lagos under the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters (ATBOWATON) have resolved to rejig its operations, even as it considered higher pricing with increased cost of operations.
These were some of the deliberations which rose from an emergency meeting yesterday, as the group is poised to overhaul its operational strategies, zeroing on “one zone, one project” agenda to empower its members hit by the fuel subsidy.
At the meeting called at the instance of its National Acting Board of Trustees Chairman, Mr Frank Meke, and the National President, Dr. Gani Tarzan Balogun, the group agreed to evaluate its operational impact and also tackle cases of double taxation of its members.
The body also appreciated the creation of Marine and Blue Economy ministry, which saw an unbundling of the former Ministry of Transportation, meanwhile, it resolved to reach out to agreived members and enthrone reconciliations while it factors new developmental strides for sustainable boat operations.
In his speech, the Chairman, Lagos ATBOWATON, Engr. Babatunde Lawal, stated that the association pioneered and made huge sacrifices for the promotion and growth of water transportation in the state and Nigeria, but unfortunately has not benefited for its struggles for effective and secure movement of goods and persons across littoral communities.
Lawal urged the members to be consistent and resist external forces bent on dividing the frontline water transportation body, noting that the doors of the association in Lagos is open to everyone who is willing to operate by the extant regulations by federal and state authorities, and the constitution of ATBOWATON.
“We were once at the forefront of ensuring sanity on regulations ecosystem and went to court to prove our case. We recently obtained judgment against certain maritime organisations which do not own or operate boats yet wish to compel registered boat operators to pay levies to them. We must appreciate our members who stood with us at the risk of their lives through the court matter,” Lawal remarked.
Speaking on the proposed effort to set up another union of boat operators in Lagos, which the members outrightly rejected, Lawal promised to write relevant bodies pushing the for new action to know about the latest position of the association on the matter.
On palliatives for its members, the association disclosed that nothing practical in terms of delivery has reached the members, adding that the new fuel regime is making the business of its members and its clients very difficult.
The association further stated that palliatives with any unexplainable and confounding attached conditions will be outrightly rejected by the members, adding that any effort to give it anything by right hand and take it back through the left hand, will be politely turned down.
Meanwhile, the Lagos chapter of ATBOWATON maintained that it will resist attempts to polarize its members, calling on all stakeholders to collaborate and unite to provide a safe and secure water transportation ecosystem.